Santa Rosa, CA – January 29, 2019 – With the federal government reopened through at least February 15, 2019,
the Sonoma County Housing Authority is able to fund rental assistance
payments for programs financed by the U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development (HUD) through May 31, 2019.
“We’re glad we can
continue to provide this much-needed assistance through the end of May,
and hopefully after,” said Margaret Van Vliet, executive director of the
Sonoma County Community Development Commission, which oversees the
Housing Authority. “Because the reopening is temporary, we’re monitoring
the situation closely. We’re doing everything we can to keep these
programs – which serve approximately 3,000 low-income families in Sonoma
County – running smoothly.”
The short-term federal spending bill passed
Friday evening provides HUD funding for Sonoma County’s Housing Choice
Voucher Section 8 program through April 31. Should the government fail
to reach a budget agreement before the current agreement expires on
February 15, the Housing Authority will continue making scheduled
payments through May 31, using reserve funds as necessary.
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 it's eligible to receive, often due
to a shortfall in available rentals.
“We 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 would attempt to access if a federal budget agreement
isn’t reached by Feb. 15. But we’re hoping it doesn’t come to that.”
While reopening the federal government is a positive step, the federal
budget remains uncertain. Van Vliet stressed the importance of
protecting those who rely on these programs and vowed that the Housing
Authority would keep participants informed. “We understand that it’s
stressful to live with this level of uncertainty, but we ask for the
public’s patience while we navigate these uncharted waters together,”
For more information, contact Janelle Wetzstein at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 604-6632.