Partial government shutdown impacting those living in federally-subsidized housing

Hawthorne Apartments is considered Section 515 Rural Rental Housing with about 25 units. (KATV Photo)

Tenants of a federally-subsidized apartment complex in Prescott are at risk of losing their homes if the partial government shutdown doesn't end soon.

The notice was sent to residents of the Hawthorne Apartments on Friday of potential eviction if rent was not paid in full by Jan. 20.

The letter explains that due to the shutdown, the "rental (federal) assistance portion of rent is not being paid."

"Your complex is not in the business of furnishing free rent. All obligation of the complex still must be paid and can only be paid from rents collected," says the letter, signed by Annette Cowen.

The letter urges tenants to contact their "Senators and Representatives in Washington D.C. if you want your rental assistance to be paid. You must pay all your rent immediately."

For 76-year-old Jerald McLelland, such news is worrisome, especially since he is working to pay off a number of other bills.

"This is something that I thought I'd never see happen," McLelland said, referring to the lengthiest government shutdown in U.S. history.

"I think I speak for everybody, I don't know how we're going to make it," McLelland said. "I'll have to call the finance people that my finances my car and see if they will extend my payment and I will have to take that money to pay the rent -- that's the only way I can do it."

Linda Gandt is disabled and has several medical expenses to take care on a monthly basis.

Without federal rental assistance, Gandt said it's going to be difficult staying inside her two-bedroom apartment.

"I can't afford to pay $600-$700 a month," Gandt said.

"If the shutdown don't come to a stop and people are put back to work and the government start functioning the way it's supposed to, I'm going to have to move out of my apartment. I really don't have anywhere to go unless I stay with one of my kids."

As for McLelland, who voted for President Donald Trump, he's optimistic in a resolution to form in Washington. But he's hoping sooner rather than later.

"I blame the President and Democrats for this," he said. "I think the could solve this if they wanted to and they could solve the situation that I'm in now where we won't have to worry about paying the extra money for our rent. They could do something."

McLelland and other tenants plan to meet with housing authorities on Monday to discuss options to fund apartment rent.

Hawthorne Apartments is considered Section 515 Rural Rental Housing with about 25 units.

Right now, tenants receiving Section 8 Housing are expected to continue to receive assistance through February.

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