OKC Housing Authority Reassess Contingency Plan After Government Reopens
Oklahoma City, OK - The longest government shutdown in history is over, at least temporarily.
Now that government offices like the Department of Housing and Urban Development are reopening, local housing agencies are trying to figure out what will happen next.
The very day the Oklahoma City Housing Authority furloughed workers, the U.S. government reopened.
A plan was put in place to close the Housing Authority on Fridays, cutting worker pay.
“We're doing that in order to help extend the period of time that public housing residents are able to stay in their homes,” Oklahoma City Housing Authority Mark Gillett said Friday morning.
The OKC HA receives most of its funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which was closed for 35 days.
Had the shutdown continued, HUD funds would have run out in March, including those that go to rental assistance.
Tuesday, the Housing Authority sent out letters to landlords asking them to be patient with tenants who use Section 8 of the Housing Act.
“From elderly senior citizens to very young infants, it's a program that touches all demographics, all age groups in Oklahoma City,” Gillett said.
Now that a deal has been reached to reopen the government for three weeks, Gillett isn't yet certain what will happen during the next three weeks and beyond that, if HUD shuts down again.
Another group affected by the shutdown are the homeless and their advocates, now awaiting direction from the federal government as well.
“OKC gets about $3.5 million a year from HUD to provide homeless services to homeless people,” Director of the Oklahoma City Homeless Alliance Dan Straughan said.
The local housing authority will resume its normal hours Monday, as was scheduled before the shutdown ended.