Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency holds reserves for government-shutdown scenarios

Published 9:05 am Friday, January 25, 2019

The partial federal government shutdown is still lingering on as Democratic lawmakers and President Donald Trump face off over the funding of a wall on the country’s southern border with Mexico.

As of Thursday, the longest partial shutdown in history was in day 33. Many federal workers around the nation are on furlough and are not receiving pay.

However, another big impact of the partial shutdown could be on government assisted housing such as section 8. Agencies like the Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency receives federal funding to help pay for rent of individuals who qualify for housing assistance. With the government in shutdown, those funds could come to a stop while lawmakers work things out.

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Kelly Geagley, Executive Director of the Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency, said his agency and ones like it have plans for situations like a government shutdown. And one of those plans is to keep up to three months of money in reserves to help cover the rent of those who rely on housing assistance.

“They had already given us the money to pay January’s rent for section 8,” said Geagley. “If it goes into February they still say we will have money, but if we don’t, we are required to have three months in reserves.”

Geagley went on to say that the Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency goes a step further and keeps six months of rent money in reserves.

“I double whatever they require so nobody will go without having their rent,” said Geagley.

Geagley said that prolonged shutdown could have repercussions for his agency, but he also said that there will not be any problems.

“If the shutdown was a year, then we would be in trouble, but I don’t think that will be a problem at all,” said Geagley. “I really don’t. We already have the January rent, and everything should be OK for February also. They assure that there won’t be any problem.

“HUD says to have whatever you need to run your agency for a quarter,” added Geagley. “It should keep that in reserves. What I have always done since I have been here, is to keep six months in reserves just in case this happens or an emergency of some type.”