How will the shutdown impact Section 8 housing?

Matthew Lane • Updated Jan 25, 2019 at 8:39 AM

KINGSPORT — Tenants and landlords who participate in the Section 8 program in East Tennessee need to know two things during the U.S. government shutdown.

- Landlords cannot ask tenants to pay the portion of their rent typically paid by the Kingsport Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

- Tenants still have to pay their portion of the rent even if the KHRA does not pay its share.

These are the two main takeaways from a statement issued Thursday afternoon by the KHRA.

“The partial federal government shutdown has resulted in a legitimate concern among property owners and participating families regarding the receipt of Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) for the federally funded Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program,” the statement reads.

Though the name was recently changed, the HCV program is still commonly referred to as Section 8.

According to the statement, the KHRA has been advised that funding for Section 8 payments will be available through Feb. 28, 2019.

If the shutdown continues into March, here’s what the KHRA wants tenants and landlords to know.

“We want to remind landlords ... they can’t ask tenants to pick up the portion that is the responsibility of the housing authority to pay,” said Maria Catron, deputy director of the KHRA, citing federal regulations. “If the landlord is reaching out to them, they need to let us know. Once (the shutdown) has lifted, they will get their portion paid to them.”

As for the tenants, Catron said just because the government is shut down, that doesn’t absolve them from paying their portion.

The KHRA administers the Section 8 program through 1,575 vouchers in six counties in upper East Tennessee.