Park City housing group awaits $800,000 in funding amid shutdown
January 8, 2019
Like many Americans, Scott Loomis is awaiting a deal between President Trump and Congress that would end the shutdown of the federal government.
Loomis, the executive director of the not-for-profit Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, said on Monday the shutdown has impacted the organization as it awaits funding from Washington, D.C., that is needed for two programs. He estimated the Department of Agriculture funding totals a little more than $800,000.
Of the total, approximately $700,000 is needed for construction services that are part of a Mutual Self Help program, which is designed for people with low incomes to assist with the construction of the house they will eventually own and live in. The work is seen as sweat equity and acts as a down payment.
Another $91,000 earmarked by Mountainlands Community Housing Trust for the Mutual Self Help program is also held up by the shutdown. Loomis also said the organization receives approximately $55,000 monthly from the Department of Agriculture to provide in rental assistance.
"I think I feel like everybody else. It's pretty frustrating," Loomis said, adding, "Nobody there to process it."
He said the $55,000 in monthly rental assistance subsidizes people renting a combined 134 units in the Park City area and Kamas, an average of a little more than $400 per month for each of the units.
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Loomis said the organization is currently building seven houses in Francis as part of the Mutual Self Help program. The Department of Agriculture, which pledged funding meant to boost development in rural places, halted the processing of the funds as part of the shutdown, Loomis said. That has left Mountainlands Community Housing Trust itself to pay subcontractors with the anticipation the Department of Agriculture will release the funds once the government reopens.
"If it continues, we'll have to decide how we're going to pay them," Loomis said.
He said six people participating in the Mutual Self Help program in a project in Silver Creek Village are also impacted. Loomis said they cannot finalize loans amid the shutdown. The loans would allow them to start construction.
At the Marsac Building, meanwhile, there had not been an effect of the shutdown by early in the week. Matt Dias, the assistant Park City manager, said there is "nothing acute."
"In the short term, in terms of our operations, grants and other things, little impact at this point. Very little," Dias said.
City Hall receives assistance from Washington, D.C., with transit, public safety and emergency management funding. The assistance, though, does not represent a significant portion of the municipal budget, he said.
"We rely very little on federal funding," Dias said.
The County Courthouse said the shutdown has minimal impact. Summit County Manager Tom Fisher said officials are involved in ongoing negotiations with the Environmental Protection Agency about the U.S. 40 corridor that have been halted as a result of the shutdown. He also said there could be delays in talks about road projects that rely on federal funds.
"I wouldn't say it's incredibly serious," Fisher said. "It slows things down."