Community Action Agencies Hurting From Shutdown
BOSTON/SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) –One day in, and the Skinner family is sick of the government shutdown, and its threat to fuel assistance.
“Finding a job, then doing the job because of my disability is going to be tough. It seems that the big shots there don’t care. If they had to go a week or two without a paycheck, let’s see how they would fare,” Robert Skinner said.
“Like my husband said, we’ll have a very hard winter. We’re both living on fixed incomes. Some bill might not get paid this month, one might not get paid the next one, it’s robbing Peter to pay Paul is what we’re doing,” added Peggy Skinner.
Several folks like the Skinners spent day one of the government shutdown waiting the offices at Action for Boston Community Development.
The anti-poverty agency connects the city’s low-income residents to federally funded programs like fuel assistance, and head start. 75% of its money comes from government contracts.
The last time the government shutdown 17 years ago, ABCD had some extra cash. With some help from volunteers, they were able to get through the 18 days. This time around, they’re not so sure that’ll be the case.
“I’ve been able to keep the doors open today. Tomorrow? I don’t know after that. For example, we have 650 people employed to take care of our 2500 children in low income families. If they’re not getting paid, they can’t come to work,” Drew stated.
Things are also much harder this time around because of automatic budget cuts that have already taken place, slashing $3 million from ABCD.
Springfield Partners for Community Action is a similar agency that gets 73% of their funding from the funding from the government, with the rest coming from local donors and businesses. President Paul Bailey says the Sequester has hit them hard financially as well, and has no plans to lay anyone off yet.
As long as the shutdown drags on for the program, and families across the Bay State, the future remains uncertain.