Thursday marks Day 20 of the government shutdown, and there’s no end in sight as President Donald Trump arrives in South Texas to try to build support for his planned border wall, the catalyst for the shutdown and a project that most Americans overwhelmingly oppose, according to recent polls.
Here are some of the ways the shutdown has affected Texas.
Federally funded housing programs are in jeopardy as the shutdown stretches on. According to CNN, the Department of Housing and Urban Development hasn’t been able to renew about 1,650 contracts with private building owners who rent to low-income Americans and an additional 550 contracts are set to expire next month. As the Washington Post reported, HUD has resorted to asking landlords to dip into their reserves rather than evict tenants. That’s particularly bad news for Texas, which has been experiencing an affordable housing crisis since long before the shutdown. Already the impact of the shutdown is being felt in Austin, where a development project that included 122 apartments earmarked for low-income residents is being delayed because the developers had applied for a HUD loan that is still in process, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Homebuyers are feeling a similar strain—one couple were set to close on their “dream home” in rural Cedar Creek, but after applying for a loan from the Department of Agriculture, their plans are on hold indefinitely, KXAN reported.
Many Texans who were affected by Hurricane Harvey are still waiting for federal aid, and the shutdown won’t make it any easier to get that aid. According to Houston Public Media, Harris County is putting a hold on Harvey recovery projects that relied in part on federal money. According to Politico, HUD can’t issue guidance to state agencies on how to apply for billions of dollars in aid to help prepare for natural disasters, and KXAN reported that Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush wrote a letter to Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, asking for help. “The GLO has provided information to HUD on what type of mitigation projects would best serve those impacted by Hurricane Harvey,” Bush wrote, according to KXAN. “This collaboration was done in part to help expedite publication of the rules governing these funds in the Federal Register. Unfortunately, the publication of these rules has been considerably delayed. I am writing to ask you to please approve these rules for publication as soon as possible so we can get started on construction of vital infrastructure projects to protect Texans from the type of damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. We cannot afford to wait any longer.”