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May 19, 2019
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Rental assistance programs remain on track despite Government shutdown

January 25, 2019

Housing Authority guarantees rental assistance payments for next two months

The Sonoma County Housing Authority will continue to provide much-needed rental assistance through its programs funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), despite the federal government continuing its longest shutdown in U.S. history. The Housing Authority has guaranteed rental assistance payments through March 2019.

“We have reserve funding to support our HUD programs for the next two months,” said Margaret Van Vliet, executive director of the Sonoma County Community Development Commission, which oversees the Housing Authority. “We’re monitoring the situation closely and working to ensure that our residents are protected.”

The Sonoma County Housing Authority receives approximately $3 million each month for HUD-funded rental assistance programs, which include Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and several other project-based programs. According to Housing Authority Manager Martha Cheever, Sonoma County doesn’t always use the full amount its eligible to receive, often due to a shortfall in available rentals.

“We likely use about $2.5 million each month, as voucher recipients, available rental units and other factors inevitably shift,” said Cheever. “The remaining funds are held in reserves, which we will be able to access in order to fund our programs through Feb. and March, should the shutdown last that long.”

If the shutdown stretches past March 31, Sonoma County will join many other jurisdictions across the country facing an unprecedented situation: people that need rental assistance who are suddenly facing eviction and possible homelessness.

“We will continue to do everything we can to protect those who rely on our services, and keep the public informed of any new developments” said Van Vliet. “But we need the federal government to reopen HUD. It’s the only way to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

For more information, contact Margaret Van Vliet at margaret.vanvliet@sonoma-county.org or (707) 565-7504.