Pro Bono News

Shutdown Now Squeezing Seniors, Families in Subsidized Housing

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Shutdown Now Squeezing Seniors, Families in Subsidized Housing

"The partial federal shutdown struck just as Willie J. Donaldson began to believe he could save his home from foreclosure.

A stroke weakened his legs and forced him from his job as a maintenance worker. Unemployment and medical bills put the Bainbridge man tens of thousands of dollars behind on his mortgage payments. Donaldson, 61, lost hope until a pro bono lawyer found a state program that could save his home.

The catch is that to ensure he qualifies for the program, Donaldson needs to submit information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture rural housing program that helped him buy his home. When his lawyer calls, all she gets are recorded greetings that say the office is closed.

Donaldson’s home is scheduled for foreclosure Feb. 5. If he loses it, he has nowhere to go, he said.

“Day and night and all the time, that’s what I worry about,” he said.

The more than 135,000 low-income Georgia households that rely on the federal government’s vast system of affordable housing subsidies are beginning to feel the sting of the partisan budget impasse that has now stretched 34 days. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development furloughed roughly 95 percent of its employees, including most of its health and safety inspectors, according to the department’s contingency plan..."

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