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Previous issues for La Joya Housing Authority could lead to bigger problems

Last year, the La Joya Housing Authority dealt with administration issues that could now lead to an even bigger problem if the shutdown continues.

Last year, the La Joya Housing Authority dealt with administration issues that could now lead to an even bigger problem if the shutdown continues.

Depending on the type of program a housing authority has, there are four types of revenue from the federal government.

However, with the shutdown, residents like Salinas, who has been living under the housing authority for three years, fears the idea of relocating.

"My biggest fear is that we won't be able to stay here and that we would have to look for another place,” said Salinas.

The Executive Director of La Joya Housing Authority, Cristi LaJeunesse said it should not be an immediate concern.

"Appropriations were made for January and February so we are able to continue as normal,” said LaJeunesse. “We do have access to our funding through HUD through the systems that we use."

However, that could all change come March because the agency does not have adequate housing reserves.

"For La Joya, we don't have a lot of back-up,” said LaJeunesse. “Unfortunately, for our Section 8 Program, we're praying that the shutdown will end."

LaJeunesse said it's partly because of the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which she adds reduces funding for Section 8 at the end of the year.

The executive director adds that it’s also due to the mismanagement of funds by the previous administration.

"That $17,000 dollars was restricted HAP (Housing Assistance Payments) should not have been moved from the Section 8 account into the non-profit or into the low-rent account,” said LaJeunesse. “Had that not happen and we had the offset in Novemeber, we would have had the money then to pay the rent. I wouldn't have had to request the HUD held reserves and those HUD held reserves would still be available for us to request now if we needed them going into March.”

Despite the financial obstacles, Salinas hopes the government will find a solution.

"My hope is that it will get resolved so all these government funds can go wherever they have to go,” said Salinas.

LaJeunesse said next week, the Housing Association of Valley Employees will host a meeting with executive directors and Section 8 Program managers to discuss plans if the shutdown continues.

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