Eva Rosen is an assistant professor at the Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. She is a member of the Scholars Strategy Network.
Philip Garboden is the HCRC Assistant Professor in Affordable Housing, Economics, Policy, and Planning at the University of Hawai’i’s Economic Research Organization and Department of Urban and Regional Planning.
Some landlords actually support this reliable HUD program. But the shutdown demonstrated that there can be serious cash flow glitches that can make landlords wary of participating in the future and leaves families without housing options.
In late January, Congress and the president agreed to reopen the government after an historic 35-day shutdown. As researchers who study housing, we breathed a sigh of relief. Although the two branches avoided a second impasse, we fear the damage that this constant brinkmanship may do to one of the nation’s largest affordable housing programs. Had the shutdown continued, federal funds that provide housing vouchers would have run out by March, a crisis that could have jeopardized the housing of over two million households. But even without a fresh interruption, the initial impasse damaged the housing voucher program in ways that may take years to fix. The issue, simply put, is this: landlords can no longer trust the federal government to uphold their side of the bargain by paying their portion of the rent. For decades, the Housing Choice Voucher program, formerly known as “Section 8,” has offered poor families in cities across the country a chance for stable housing...