Today at midnight, the current partial federal government shutdown tied for the longest in U.S. history. The 21-day shutdown is the same length of time as the shutdown that stretched from December 1995-January 1996.
Reports of furloughed employees missing paychecks and struggling to pay their bills have put the long-reaching impact of this shutdown in perspective.
While there have been great individual examples of people and businesses supporting federal employees, Northern Virginia’s counties and regional organizations are also chipping in to help.
Northern Virginia Family Service, a nonprofit that helps provide housing, food and other resources, has seen a 10 percent increase in its requests for food assistance since the new year as a result of the shutdown. On Jan. 10, the United Way of the National Capital Area announced a grant fund for NVFS to address the growing need. The funding is expected to expand the emergency services available from NVFS. More details are available through the NVFS website.
The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors approved the appropriation of up to $25,000 in the fiscal 2019 budget for Loudoun Hunger Relief and Dulles South Food Pantry. In addition, the county will waive transit and commuter bus fees as of Monday, Jan. 14, throughout the shutdown for federal employees not receiving paychecks.
Fairfax County Public Schools want to give federal employees the opportunity to work during the shutdown, holding substitute teacher hiring events. The hiring event for Friday, Jan. 11, reached capacity, so FCPS has scheduled a second hiring event for Tuesday, Jan. 15, from 2-4:30 p.m.
Arlington County says furloughed government employees struggling to pay utility bills can now apply for a payment arrangement that will allow them to extend payments without accrual of any late fees.
A couple of Alexandria stores and art organizations are looking to keep the idle hands of furloughed employees busy by offering free lessons. The Art League and knitting shop fibre space offer a couple of free lessons a week.
Additionally, Bank of America has reached out to customers known to receive direct-deposit federally issued paychecks, advising them to make use of its Client Assistance Program.
For more information on what is open and what is closed during the government shutdown, click here.