Edison, NJ - The partial federal government shutdown is having an impact on the Edison Housing Authority according to its Executive Director, Deborah M. Hurley. Although federal funding for the Edison Housing Authority is not an immediate concern, Ms. Hurley stated that the closure of the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) presents the local agency with a number of other daily challenges.
“So the one thing you need to know is that our HUD funding has already been approved. Our operations, administrators, and internal operations – we are in solid standing. It is not going to hurt us when it comes to making sure our employees get their paychecks and things of that nature” she told TAPinto Edison.
“During the shutdown we are not able to get responses from HUD that we need, like regarding policy [and] procedural questions – HUD is closed. The Housing Authority itself is financially sound. The shutdown is affecting us because if we have any questions regarding policy, where we must refer to HUD, or if we have any questions to help guide us and give us direction, because that’s what local HUD does for us – there are our field representatives, they are not working. They’re furloughed. It puts us in a position for us to kind of operate based on the best knowledge possible. Of course, we can refer to the website and things of that nature, but when you really need to rely on your field rep., they are not accessible” Ms. Hurley explained.
Ms. Hurley quoted from an email that she received from a HUD field representative. “As you know the government federal spending authority expired at midnight on Friday, December 21, 2018.” the email states. “Therefore, most HUD programs have been temporarily interrupted, and most HUD employees have been told they cannot work. I will not be able to check this email account during the shutdown. I look forward to responding to your email when I return to work. We regret any inconvenience the government shutdown may cause.” it continues.
Sharing information with residents and employees is an important part of the Housing Authority’s response to the shutdown. Ms. Hurley said that she makes sure that the residents and Public Housing Managers are kept informed of important developments. She pointed to a notice that she recently received from the New Jersey Department of Human Services regarding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits as an example.
“The community needs to know that we are concerned. We are concerned for our families, and I am concerned as an administrator, as executive director, I am always concerned for my staff and families.” said Ms. Hurley. “So I am constantly monitoring the situation. I am monitoring it closely and I can also tell you executive directors are speaking to each other more frequently just to make sure that we are all in this together, as housing authority executive directors, so we are all in communication with each other about how each other are doing, and if anybody is being affected.”