While a government shutdown is awful for the country, there is one good thing — tax prayers won’t have to pay for Ben Carson’s travel to Missouri for a prayer breakfast. But the real question is, why do tax payers have to pay for Carson’s religious travels?
The Associated Press reports, “A spokesman for the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development said Wednesday that the agency couldn’t pay for the secretary’s travel to Missouri because of the shutdown. Carson had been scheduled as the main speaker Thursday for the Missouri governor’s annual prayer breakfast.”
The U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development should never have to pay for Carson to spread his version of Christianity to Trump’s delusional, white evangelical base. However, as we all know, budgets are not Carson’s forte — he spent $31,000 on an office dining room set.
Sadly, the shutdown is having more of a negative impact as it could increase the suffering of families living in government subsidized housing. Scores of federal contracts with property owners who rent to low-income families have already expired, NBC News reports. Consequently, property owners could delay critical repairs or even evict families if the government doesn’t pay them.
About 95 percent of HUD employees have been furloughed, according to a department spokesman. Meanwhile, about 1,150 contracts—representing approximately 5 percent of all Section 8 program contracts—with private landlords have expired. The program subsidizes rent and utilities for approximately 1.2 million low-income families. Another 500 contracts were expected to expire this month and 550 more in February if the shutdown continues.
HUD reportedly told landlords to dig into their own pockets to maintain the properties and to make their mortgage payments. In many cases, Section 8 properties are already poorly maintained. With winter underway, many families face living without heat or worse if the standoff continues.
Many, affordable housing advocates were caught off guard by this development because HUD had assured them before the shutdown that contracts would be renewed through January. “It’s a mess. The pain is coming a lot earlier than we thought,” said Ellen Lurie Hoffman, federal policy director for the National Housing Trust.
Hopefully, Trump can work past his ego and reopen the government.