Senior living facility worried about effects of shutdown

Published: Jan. 11, 2019 at 3:51 PM CST
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As the current government shutdown ties for the longest one in U.S. history, some Omaha residents are growing concerned.

The partial shutdown is threatening funding for a number of federal programs.

Some residents at Notre Dame Housing in Omaha are worried about what will happen if the shutdown continues.

The affordable housing development told 6 News that 49 of its units receive financial aid from the government.

"If I lose it, I don't know what's going to happen," resident Walter West said. "It's scary."

The residents at the senior living center average an annual salary of $11,000, and some have no income other than federal funding that pays their monthly living fees.

"But definitely, it's a major concern that we face every day," Notre Dame Housing Executive Director Michael Robinson said.

He said the facility is funded through January, but February is still up in the air.

"The population that gets left behind, at times, is the seniors. Especially elderly and disabled residents who don't have that voice," Robinson said.

Federal vouchers cover 70 percent of resident costs. Without that help, people like West are helpless.

"I have no savings. I was basically at the end of my run, and I'm still there," he said.

A sciatic nerve condition forced the 63-year-old to quit the workforce five years ago.

For a year-and-a-half West has relied solely on social security and affordable housing funding to continue his stay at Notre Dame.

If the shutdown continues, he fears he may be forced to become homeless. It's something he endured before landing at Notre Dame, and doesn't want to do again.

Robinson said the facility will dip into reserves if necessary, and have local partners willing to help with donations.