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story.lead_photo.caption Area residents protest the government shutdown outside the Little Rock offices of U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman. - Photo by Ginny Monk

Nearly 20 Arkansans went to the Little Rock offices of U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton and John Boozman on Friday to protest the government shutdown and its effects on public housing.

"This whole government shutdown is a disaster," said Neil Sealy, an advocate with Arkansas Community Organizations. The group, which advocates for the rights of renters and people who have low incomes, organized the event.

The partial government shutdown, which began Dec. 22, is tied for the longest in U.S. history. It sprung from a debate over funding for a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which funds local housing authorities, is not operating.

From December to February, contracts are set to expire on project-based Section 8 for more than 20 apartment complexes. At least four expired since the December shutdown, according to data obtained from Arkansas Community Organizations.

Project-based Section 8 is a program that gives rental assistance to people with low incomes, but the voucher goes with the building rather than with the individual resident. If people move out of the building, they no longer have the rental assistance.

Protesters told staff at the congressmen's offices they fear that they or their loved ones could be faced with eviction or having to pay full rent. They also spoke of their need for government assistance in buying food and family members who work for the federal government and will miss paychecks if the shutdown continues.

"Security means four walls and a roof," they chanted outside the Victory Building on Capitol Avenue.

See Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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  • Bullgod1984
    January 11, 2019 at 3:03 p.m.

    God forbid they have to get a job, or several jobs, in order to pay rent and buy food. Whatever are they to do?

    January 11, 2019 at 3:54 p.m.

    This article and/or protest makes no sense. These people are protesting because they fear they will lose their government housing and/or food stamps because the government is partially shutdown? A meteor could hit the planet and wipe us all out, maybe I'll organize a protest.

  • clydphil91yahoocom
    January 11, 2019 at 6:08 p.m.

    Waaaaaaaaaa! Cry me a river.

  • GeneralMac
    January 11, 2019 at 6:14 p.m.

    Reminded me of the busloads of Katrina evacuees who arrived in NE Alabama.

    FREE bus ride
    FREE housing
    FREE (2) meals a day
    FREE snack food besides the 2 meals.

    Evacuees were complaining to the media they did not like the FREE snacks that were provided. (not enough variety, they said )

  • wjo777
    January 12, 2019 at 10:32 a.m.

    I hope they didn't vote for a great President

  • Lifelonglearner
    January 13, 2019 at 9:29 p.m.

    Obviously your level of concern for the Secret Service, FBI, Border Patrol, TSA, Coast Guard and other personnel who are trying to get by without pay is totally absent. Just like President Trump's sense of urgency to fund his big beautiful WALL with American money was not urgent until after Republicans lost control of the House.