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Fort Walton Beach Section 8 Housing Assistance Program
FORT WALTON BEACH -- FORT WALTON BEACH - If the shutdown drags on through late October, the rental assistance program known as Section 8 will not be funded. That would cost landlords hundreds of thousands of dollars....in Okaloosa County alone.
Laura Hussey "Properties like this that accept Section 8 rent vouchers get some of their money from the client, and the rest from the Housing Authority....with money they get from the federal government"
Fort Walton Beach Housing Authority Director Gail Sansbury didn't expect to be crunching numbers in the wake of a government shutdown.
Sansbury says, "Never. Never in a million years. Matter of fact on Monday, I told my husband don't worry about it, it's not going to happen"
Now she's the one who's worried. The Housing Authority pays out three-hundred-thousand dollars a month in rental subsidies. Property manager Krissy Snowden says it's an important program.
Snowden says, "We have quite a few residents that we work with that are on Section 8, single moms, families alike. so...there are people that need it, and it would be really a shame to see it not be issued""
Everything is paid for October, but there won't be money for November subsidies if the shutdown continues. Renters wouldn't be affected immediately, they'd pay the same amount. Landlords would come up short.
Gail Sansbury says, "Just think about all the landlords that have mortgages, if they're not able to pay their mortgages and their insurance."
Sansbury says her bright spot is the Charlie Hill Terrace Public Housing Complex. There are reserves to take care of it. But the government holds the backup money for Section 8 payments, and right now, there's a problem.
Sansbury says, "At this point, there's really nobody at the federal government that I could call"
Laura Hussey "There could be a short-term effect for clients who get utility assistance form the Housing Authority. Those dollars will be shut off in November as well."