Walz discusses shutdown's impact on housing subsidies in meeting with community, leaders

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As the partial government shutdown continues to be felt across the country, Gov. Tim Walz turned the focus on concerns about housing subsidies here in Minnesota in case the shutdown continues much longer.

King’s Crossing in St. Paul, run by Episcopal Homes, has to assure nobody will lose a place to live when federal subsidies run out.

Most residents there also get food assistance, which will soon stop, too.

Resident Jacque Polk says her kids will help, but not all will.

“There are those in this building who have children, but they don’t help them,” Polk said. “They don’t come to visit and they’re going to really be hurt.”

Polk was one of four residents to sit on the roundtable discussion with the Governor Thursday. During the chat, Walz carefully stayed out of the politics of the shutdown. In fact, he expressed his irritation that politics led the country to where it is.

“Let’s be very clear, you will never be able to convince me holding these people hostage and terrorizing them over their housing has anything to do with the discussion,” Walz said to the group.

There are a wide variety of federal subsidies for housing. While residents worry they could face eviction, most programs say they won’t do that, but worry just how they will cover the costs themselves.

“We need your help. We can carry this for a very short period of time. We don’t have the cash reserves to take this on for months. We will be in crisis mode come March 1,” said Buffy Beranek, the Southeast Minnesota Housing Director.  

“We did recently send out a notice to our families alerting them that we have sufficient federal funds to pay their rents through February,” Beranek said.  

Polk agreed it’s a political fight that hits the poorest the hardest.

“They live from paycheck to paycheck just like I used to do for 40 years,” Polk said. “It’s got to end.”