CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston Housing Authority has earned millions of dollars in grants from the federal government for future projects.
However, there is a freeze on those funds because of the government shutdown. Their day-to-day operations have not been impacted yet, but if the shutdown continues until March it will.
Don Cameron is the president and CEO of the Charleston Housing Authority.
“If they’re in public housing I would say that they shouldn’t be worried,” Cameron said.
He says the U.S. Department of Urban and Housing development known has HUD has enough reserve funds to contribute its typical $600,000 a month for public housing in Charleston through February despite the government shutdown.
After that, Cameron says the Charleston Housing Authority could operate a couple more months by using its own savings.
There could be problems after that.
“The other program is our Housing Choice Voucher Program or Section 8. We support on behalf of the federal government 1,500 families and 20 percent are veteran families,” Cameron said. “If the check doesn’t come in on the first of March we can’t make those payments.”
Section 8 housing is owned and operated by private landlords.
Low-income tenants receive government assistance to pay for the majority of the rent.
“It’s really ironic is the day of the shutdown we were notified that we had a grant we applied for to help people go to work and give them counseling. $390,000 has been approved for three years,” Cameron said. “Unfortunately with the shutdown we can’t access it.”
That funding allows two Housing Authority employees to work with residents to help them prepare for employment and get jobs.
There's also another $3 million dollar grant they received for capital improvements to existing public housing buildings, but that money also has not yet been released.
Cameron says right now they're still in the planning stages, but will look to pay for those renovations in the spring and summer.
For example, one project on the list is for 61 apartments to receive new floors with that money, and the plumbing will have to be redone as well.
“[People] should be observing and keeping up with the news with what’s going on and let their congressman and congress person know how it could impact them in the future,” Cameron said.