PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Local landlords and recipients of Section 8 housing assistance could start feeling the pinch if the shutdown of the federal government continues much longer.
That is the assessment of the chief executive officer of Pittsfield-based Berkshire Housing Development Corp., a nonprofit dedicated to helping provide affordable housing throughout the region.
Elton Ogden indicated Wednesday afternoon that the shutdown is not having a major impact on Berkshire Housing or its clients — for now — but he is concerned about "mom and pop" landlords with tenants who rely on the federal subsidies to pay the rent.
"It's really the flow of subsidy money where there's a greater potential of people being hurt," Ogden said. "What will happen is the owner of the property won't get the checks.
"The blowback is on us and in cases where you have people in the community renting from mom and pop landlords, and all of a sudden, the mom and pop don't have a check from the government. They're not going to be happy with their tenant."
And, perhaps more to the point, the landlord won't have the income coming in that he or she is counting on to pay their mortgage, taxes, etc.
Ogden said Berkshire Housing has about 600 residents in its properties who receive Section 8 vouchers, which are distributed by municipalities. But that is just one part of the nonprofit's revenue stream.
And Berkshire Housing's reserves are adequate to carry the nonprofit through a short-term interruption in rent payments.
"If we stop receiving subsidies, we should be able to hold tight for a few months," Ogden said.
"But I believe if you took all of the housing authorities in the county, you're probably talking about 2,000 vouchers. I'd say three-quarters of those are going smaller landlords. That's a lot."
The shutdown, which began in December, stretched into its 19th day on Wednesday with no end in sight, according to national news reports. At issue is a dispute about $5 billion which President Trump is seeking to build portions of a wall on the border with Mexico. Democratic leaders in Congress — including U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee — blame the White House for the impasse that led to the partial government shutdown. The U.S. House has passed legislation to open government that the U.S. Senate refuses to take up.
While none of its properties or residents are in any immediate danger, Berkshire Housing is not altogether unaffected by the shutdown.
"The main effect at this time is no one is home at [the Department of Housing and Urban Development] to answer the phone," Ogden said. "The normal day-to-day business where we might look for a signature or a signoff on a replacement reserve request from a HUD asset manager, that's not happening.
"That's not going to have a major effect on us for the time being."
And the shutdown will not affect Berkshire Housing's ability to do things like process new applications for affordable housing.
"It wouldn't affect that because we do all that internally," Ogden said. "We just have to follow their rules for qualifying someone and processing someone. The underwriting and signing of the lease is done by us or a housing authority."
One of the biggest expenses for any landlord like BHDC is the mortgages on its properties, but Ogden said it has a relatively small percentage of properties that have private mortgages.
"In the case of [Williamstown's] Proprietor's Field or [North Adams'] Holy Family, those are FHA/HUD insured mortgages," he said. "If HUD stopped funding the subsidies, the money that would go to pay the mortgage off would stop. They'd essentially have to hold us harmless."
For now, the message for residents of Berkshire Housing's 2,000 housing units is: Don't worry about near-term impacts of the shutdown.
"I haven't gotten any calls from residents, but I'm not on that direct line, so I'd have to talk to our leasing team," Ogden said. "They're the ones who hear from tenants when they're anxious. I'm sure if they do get calls they're telling them it's too early to panic."
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Mount Greylock Announces Fourth Quarter Honor Roll
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mount Greylock Regional School has announced its honor rolls for the fourth quarter of the 2018-19 school year.
Students are placed on the honor roll when their quarterly letter grades average a B or better, and when the student receives no grade lower than a B- in all graded classes. The student must be carrying a minimum of four graded courses to be eligible.
Maddison Albert, Hallie Anderson, Mitchell Bath, Sage Bohl, Casey Bouchard, Daniel Buell, Taylor Callahan, Sonya Carrizales, Giovanni Cavalli, Joshua Cheung, Josephine Dalsin, Autumn Delorey, Elizabeth Dudley, John Ellingwood, David Falk, Katrina Hotaling, Alison Howard, Lauren Jacobbe, Sophie Jones, Cole Kuster, Cameron Macuch, Karen MagnusdottirMcComish, Sean Malloy, Michael, Maruk, Brook Masse, Brennan McGowan, Grace Miller, Jakin Miller, Isabella Nicastro, Dominic Paris, Avery Powers, Cameron Sabin, Theodore Sandstrom, Cassidy Shea, Evan Sheridan, Josef Soza-Foias, Colette Stapp, Andrew Sutter, Luke Swann, Samantha Trybus, Katherine Wilson
Gabriella Alvarez, Madeline Art, Miriam Bakija, Julia Butler, Barry Chhuon, Taylor Cornell, Julia Donati, Sarah Egan, Brandon Fahlenkamp, Alexander Falk, Cole Filson, Toby Foehl, Lucas Forman, Evelyn Fuls, Tarryn Gaherty, Brandi Gill, Logan Gould, James Hetherington, Julia Jammalo, Mitchell Jezouit, Joseph Jones, Jonah Kelly-Whitney, Saville Keyes, Cassidy Kiernan, Amelia Murphy, Brooke Phelps, Samantha Pierce, Charlotte Rauscher, Grace Sanchez, Ciera Schwarzer, Anna Scott, Malcolm Skinner, Brayden Smith, Emanuel Soza-Foias, Owen Tucker-Smith, Xavier Vilaubi, Anna Welch, Finnian Welch, Spencer Zheng
Delaney Babcock, Isabel Beauchamp, Aurora Bullett, Talia Cappadona, Croft Carter, Priya D'Souza, Briana Dowling, Nicholas Duda, Elizabeth Dupras, Laura Dupuis, William Ellingwood, Michael Faulkner, Amanda Filiault, Gabriel Gerry, Jack Gitterman, Claire Hall, Emma Hayward, Carolyn Jones, Isabella Kirby, Isabelle Leonard, Lily Lesieur, Oscar Low, Taylor Mason, Catherine McAllister, Col McDermott, Charles McWeeny, Clarissa McWeeny, Victoria Melkonyan, Julius Munemo, Erin O'Keefe, Emma Paul, Leah Petricca, Benjamin Prescott, Elizabeth Ramos, Jordan Rosier, Leo Rossitter, Abigail Rudin, Charlotte Sanford, Hazel Scullin, Brandon Sills, John Skavlem, Matthew Sorrell, William Starenko, Hayden Steadwell-Brundige, Solomon Sutter, Nathan Taveras, Kyle Trottier, Mia VanDeurzen, Gina Wang, Malcolm Waynick, Ruth Weaver, Jacqueline Wells, Elizabeth Westerdahl, Fiona Williams, Alexander Wilson, Olivia Winters
Zoe Armet, Henry Art, Alexander Axt, Adriel Benko, Sophia Brady-Owen, Edward Brannan, William Broadwell, Jillian Bump, Jack Catelotti, Cayden Conry, Takiera Darrow, Josephine Dechaine, Maisie Dufour, Diego Galvez, Samantha Garzone, Kathryn Gentry, Jonah Hane, Rina Hatakeyama, Luca Hirsch, Ava Howard, Simon Klompus, Tate Kuster, Juliann Lawson, Madison Machaffie, Thomas Martin, Karissa McInerney, Eleanor McPartland, Sophia Mele, Troy Michalak, Derek Paris, Tej Patel, Krishan Rai, Tashi Rai, Sarah Reynolds, Jamie Rhinemiller, Lily Rorke, Emma Sandstrom, Anna Schoorlemmer, Piper Schulman, Alayna Schwarzer, Mackenzie Sheehy, Ava Simon, Josephine Smith, Christian Sullivan, Katherine Swann, Camden Taylor, Alexis Toomey, Rona Wang, Anthony Welch, Malina Woodbury
Ainsley Abel, Arsil Ahmed, Annabelle Art, Matilda Asch, Elizabeth Bertolino, Matthew Bertolino, Henrik Bingemann, Erika Bolton, Marguerite Brody, Elena Caplinger, Matteo Chang, Hannah Chase, Chase Doyle, Antoinette Dykes, Cailean Fippinger, Emma Gilooly, Emma Gray, Arthur Greenfield, Dylen Harrison, Eamon Hetherington, Lucy Igoe, Lily Jayko, Seth Lillie, Clarissa Louis, Elliot Louis, Isabella Mangano, Emma Mathews, Patrick McConnell, Emma Newberry, Liam O’Keefe, Zenalyssa Packer, Beatrice Pedroni, Christiane Rech, Juliet Robinson, Brodi Rosier, Ernani Rosse, Joshua Rudin, Andres Sanchez, Foster Savitsky, Drew Scanlon, Krish Sharma, Noah Shin, Jennah Simpson, Kiersten Simpson, Jane Skavlem, Euphemia Skinner, Elizabeth Smith, Jacob Stokes, Molly Sullivan, Rose Sutter, Kamryn Sweet, Samuel Tucker-Smith, Nathaniel Verter, Haley Williams, Elissa Wong
Ava Anagnos, Lex Anagnos, Thomas Art, Riley Babcock, Phoebe Barnes, Jude Barzousky, Isabella Belleau, Jacqueline Brannan, Emma Brennan, Larissa Broadwell, Kaylie Bryan, Lily Catelotti, Sylvie Clowes, Lila Cohen-McFall, Julia DeChaine, Benjamin Dingman, Noelle Dravis, Emily Dupuis, Abaigael Fuls, Isabella Garivaltis, Beatrice Garvey, Annabelle Gitterman, Anabel Gonzales, Emma Kate Hane, Akira Harris, Alexa Heidel, Matilde Henderson, Phoebe Hughes, Tyler Kloblensky Hynes-Drumm, Jason Jaros, Talia Kapiloff, Erin Keating, Ryan Keating, Jenner Kittle, Luka Lash-St. John, Svea Lawson, Cedric Lemaire, Caleb Low, Cecilia Malone, Grace Malone, Judge Martin, Lily McDermott, Quinn McDermott, Lucy McWeeny, Emily Mole, John Morales, George Munemo, Dylan Nevarez, Maggie Nichols, Emily Ouellette, Gianna Pesce, Andrew Petropulos, Owen Petropulos, Alexa Politis, Gabriella Quagliano, Quinlan Repetto, Declan Rogers, Celina Savage, Mason Sayers, Iris Semon Pike, Jasmine Skorupski, Katelin Smith, Parker Smith, Oliver Swabey, Jamie Sweren, Emma Swoap, Celia Szczepaniak, Macy Tidmarsh, John Trinder, Serafina Velazquez, Mitchell Waynick, Vincent Welch, Marcus Whalen-Loux, Gavin Whaley, Grace Winters.