Gov't Shutdown Puts Federally Rent-Subsidized Tenants in Jeopardy

January 16, 2019 - 1:01 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) — As the partial government shutdown continues, the pipeline of federal money that normally flows to a number of rent stabilized tenants in New York City has stopped.

With no federal funds, many tenants are unable to afford their rent, but one landlords group is telling poor and low-income residents not to worry.

The Rent Stabilization Association (RSA) announced Wednesday that it is directing its members not to evict their federally rent-subsidized tenants during the government shutdown.

“In most of these projects, what happens is a tenant pays a portion of their income, usually 30 percent of their income, and the balance of whatever the rent is, is paid by the federal government and that's the contract that the operator has, the manager, developer has with the federal government,” said  RSA’s Frank Ricci.

He notes that payments are currently delayed, but are going to be workers out.

“Everyone's going to get paid in the end and nobody should panic and nobody should do anything that's going to upset tenants needlessly,” Ricci said.

The most affected tenants are low-income senior citizens. The association is telling its members the current situation is a blip.

The government shutdown on Wednesday reached day 26, long surpassing the record for the longest government shutdown in American history.

Some 420,000 federal employees whose work is declared essential are working without pay, including at the FBI, TSA and other federal law enforcement offices.

On Wednesday, CBS News White House correspondent Steven Portnoy told WCBS 880 that the White House ordered the recall of nearly 50,000 federal workers, mostly at the IRS, to help process tax returns.

He notes that FAA safety inspectors and FDA food inspectors were also called back to work without pay.

“What you don't have though, is any substantive movement towards a compromise,” Portnoy said.

He explains that the president will meet with the House Problem Solvers Caucus in continuing negotiations to reopen the federal government.

Additionally, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also called on President Trump to delay his State of the Union address as his own economists acknowledged the prolonged standoff was having a greater economic drag than previously thought.