Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Authority feels effects of government shutdown

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The effects from the partial government shutdown are trickling down to The Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Authority.

“When people in Washington start to feel comfortable that this could go on for months and months that’s scary,” stated NHRA executive director, John Kownack. 

The NRHA provides rental assistance to 6,300 families in Norfolk.

Kownack says the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, otherwise known as HUD, is closed due to the shutdown, and they require HUD money to operate.

“That money is received in advance and we’re good through February right now so we thought that would be plenty of time and now we’re wondering,” explained Kownack.

After February, he says they’ll have to use reserve money that could get them through June.

“That’s scary for everybody when you’re just advancing from your reserves, you’re depleting money that’s built up over decades here,” Kownack said.

However, with HUD staff not working, deals can’t close, which means their 320 unit rennovation project at their Diggs Town community is at a standstill. 

He says local contractors who’ve already been aware of the bid are ready to get going, and can’t.

Kownack says eventually their reserve money will run out — and if it gets to that point, it’s a dire situation.

“We’d be looking for some sort of interim financing solution because it’s not practical to think about shutting down our communities or shutting down rental assistance, folks would be evicted and then there’d be landlords in town,” he stated. 

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