The department's rural development division, which oversees loans, loan guarantees, and grants to people in rural areas, is staffed at only 1 percent during the shutdown. As of Jan. the rural development division employed 4,457 people. Currently, a mere 37 employees are working, which has put operations at a near standstill.
Stanly County resident Candice Brasington cannot sell her Conway, S.C. home until the government reopens. She needs a payoff statement from the USDA but is unable to get one. She told ABC11 she has until Feb. 1 to get the statement or else she won't be able to sell her home. Brasington has a buyer lined up, but everything is at a standstill.
"Our realtor won't get paid. The attorney won't get paid. We won't get paid. And we can't pay the USDA. We wouldn't be able to sell to anybody," Brasington said. "We would be just dead in the water,"
Brasington said she is carrying a mortgage on her North Carolina and South Carolina homes and believes it will be a challenge to manage both mortgages if her South Carolina home doesn't sell.
"I certainly don't think shutting down the government is the answer," she added. "I think (Congress) needs to be big girls and boys, get out of the sandbox, and put their pants on. Negotiate, compromise, and collaborate -- work at it as a team. They need to stop biting at each other and thinking of each other as enemies."
Brasington said she identifies as a Libertarian and said Democrats and Republicans have a lot of work to do. "They truly are holding us hostage," she said. "It's really sad and wrong for our President, and politicians, Democrat and Republicans, to do this to the people."
The division's website lists its key programs as:
- Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program
- Water & Waste Disposal Loan & Grant Program
- Single Family Housing Direct Home Loans
- Rural Business Development Grants
- Single Family Housing Repair Loans & Grants
- Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program
- Business & Industry Loan Guarantees
- Value Added Producer Grants
For a complete list of services the USDA Rural Development division handles, click here.