Thousands of New Yorkers feeling the pinch of the federal shutdown — and it could get worse, de Blasio says

Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the federal government shutdown on its 27th day, Thursday, Jan. 17.
Photo by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Federal workers across Queens and New York City are feeling the real effects of the longest federal  government shutdown in history as it entered its 27th day on Thursday — and Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that the pain could spread to all New Yorkers if it continues for a few more weeks.

The week of Jan. 7 was the first week that federal government employees who are furloughed did not receive a paycheck. There are 18,000 federal employees that work at affected agencies in New York City and an unknown number of low-wage federal contractors.

Additionally, millions of New Yorkers and their families who rely on various federally funded government programs, such as food stamps, the New York City Housing Authority, school lunch and rental assistance, are at risk of being affected by the shutdown if it continues into March.

At minimum, two million New Yorkers stand to lose these vital programs if the shutdown continues past February.

“In my six years as Mayor, New York City has faced storms, attacks and political crises. During each of those crises, I told New Yorkers the truth: that we’d be okay,” de Blasio said. “On the 27th day of the Trump shutdown, I cannot promise that we’ll be okay. Beginning March 1, millions of New Yorkers will lose a total of $500 million a month in vital federal supports, such as food stamps and rental assistance. Any attempt to backfill the void left by our federal government would be woefully inadequate to the scale of the crisis.”

To stay updated on the latest developments and to find a variety of city programs that provide relief, including food pantries, employment referrals, landlord mediation, eviction prevention, rental and mortgage arrears assistance, veterans’ services and more visit nyc.gov/federalshutdown for help.

“We’ll continue to do what we can and fight in Washington, but one thing is clear: this Trump shutdown must end today,” de Blasio said. “Our people are counting on a functional government.”

Meanwhile, state Senator James Sanders is launching a collection drive to benefit the federal workers affected by the federal shutdown. This effort is being conducted with support from the American Federation of Government Employees and Rosedale-Laurelton American Legion Post 483, which operates a food pantry.

Those affected include agents from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection as well as staff from the State Department, Coast Guard, IRS, Department of Homeland Security, NASA and the National Park Service.

“The hardworking men and women who serve our nation should not be punished, or left struggling to support themselves and their families over Trump’s feud with Congress,” Sanders said. “We should all do our part to help these federal workers during their time of need.”

Sanders is collecting donations of non-perishable food, toiletries along with baby formula, diapers, and other childcare items for those affected workers. Items can be dropped off at his district office, located at 142-01 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Those seeking to receive items must present a valid, current, federal ID from one of the agencies affected by the federal shutdown. For more information, contact Sanders’ office at 718-523-3069.

Those in need can also find the location of their local food pantry or soup kitchen by visiting www.foodbanknyc.org/get-help for more information.

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