Three-week-old partial government shutdown effecting housing loans

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Leon Cooks is one of many on Section 8 living in Ouachita Parish.

"That's something you have to think about. If it was taking away from us what we would do?" Cooks said.

He suffers from severe Rheumatoid Arthritis and seizures. It's put him out of work for more than ten years, so keeping his government assistance keeps a roof over his head.

"It' a blessing. Section 8 is a blessing to a lot of us," Cooks said.

Right now, Cooks is covered with disability, but others aren't.

In the three weeks the government has been partially shut down, federal housing loans like FHA, V.A. USDA are in limbo, but folks on section 8 don't have to panic just yet.

"We haven't received anything to my knowledge that we're not going to get paid for February, but we have been paid for the month of January," Connie Walker, property manager with Chambles Enterprises in Monroe, said.

Veteran's Affairs loans are also being processed right now, but rural development loans aren't, which can hurt potential homeowners.

Susie Dartlon with Eagle Mortgage in Monroe said banks are seeing delays in the underwriting process.

"It just means that we can approve your loan for our bank's standpoint, but you can't officially go to the closing table until rural development is up and we get that commitment from them," said Dartlon. "So, you couldn't close on your house and officially be a homeowner until we get that commitment."

She said it's important for everyone knows what's going on.

"At this point, as long as we tell everybody up front and keep the communication going then they would understand where we're at," Dartlon said.

But, it's the not knowing that can be concerning to people like Cooks.

"I pray that they don't but if they do we just have to go to the old routine and get done what you have to get done, bill wise, and take care of your business," Cooks said.

Lenders also said those who already are using the rural development loan are safe.