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Human Toll Grows As The Government Shutdown Continues

“I am asking for assistance to keep a roof over my family’s head. The government shutdown is leaving us unable to pay for all of our bills and rent.”

“Senate Republicans blocked a stopgap measure to end the partial shutdown on Thursday, the second of two failed efforts to end the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Senators voted 52-44 on the legislation, falling short of the 60 votes needed to defeat a filibuster,” The Hill reported after votes were cast in the United States Senate.

The vote came after the White House-backed measure, which included the $5.7 billion for the initial stages of border fencing received less support, failing with a 50-47 tally. The two competing amendments can be read between S327-474 and S474-482 “It would have allowed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA] recipients and some temporary protected status holders to apply for a three-year extension of some legal protections, but included new restrictions on asylum seekers,” The Hill continued. Of note, Donald Trump’s administration is responsible for DACA recipients no longer having protected status.

While President Trump continues to push for $5.7 billion for a fencing project estimated to cost between $12 – $70 billion, his approval rating continue to drop and federal workers are beginning to feel the strain of going without pay.

Deepak and GoFundMe Team Up

Deepak Chopra and GoFundMe recently teamed together to create a fund to help federal workers affected by the shutdown, “The money raised on this GoFundMe will be distributed to nonprofit organizations across the country that are offering general relief to government workers, including but not limited to, food, counseling, and housing support,” reads the beginning of the Government Shutdown Direct Relief Fund which had already raised $421,642 at the writing of this article.

“We want to provide a place for people to take action and help someone in need, because, together, we have power to make a difference and provide critical short-term relief. The over 800,000 federal workers furloughed or working without pay don’t deserve this hardship, but we have the opportunity to take action and deliver a message of hope and solidarity,” the posting continued encapsulating the struggle many are currently going through.

Federal Workers In Need Of A Helping Hand

The individual stories of federal workers throughout GoFundMe further tell the story of the human toll the shutdown is having on citizens of the United States.

The Atlanta Public Schools (APS) share the story of workers in the city affected by the shutdown:

We need your help and resources for spouses, domestic partners, and household members of Atlanta Public Schools Employees Impacted by the Federal Government Shutdown.

Several hundred Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Employee households are estimated to be impacted by the federal government shutdown and are struggling without their paychecks.

APS and the APS Foundation want to help!

Please donate to our Go Fund Me to help them during this difficult time. We are grateful for your support!


Angela Kelley of Milwaukee, Wisconsin shares her story:

I am a furloughed employee, veteran and single parent raising my 3 year old granddaughter. We live paycheck to paycheck. I have bills, car payment, insurance and rent that are currently due. I have been trying driving Uber to help but I am finding it’s difficult due to a knee injury to drive for long periods of time. Being a single parent, I’m in panic mode right now. If you’d like to help, any donations are appreciated.


Jessica Appel writes about the struggle her family is currently enduring:

I am asking for assistance to keep a roof over my family’s head. The government shutdown is leaving us unable to pay for all of our bills and rent. I work for an agency that is not getting any pay, not even from the holidays. My boyfriend works in DC where the effects of the shutdown are hurting business and money substantially. We have a two year old son to take care of and it’s extemely scary not knowing if we’ll be able to afford food or even diapers for him. Even with my boyfriend picking up extra shifts we cannot afford our apartment and bills without my usual income to help. My car is in need of repair and currently not working. I can not afford to make those repairs due to not receiving any income at this time. We also have the cost of daycare, taking him out would still cost us two weeks advance notice and the possibility of losing his place to another child and not having the care for him when the government reopens. I’m asking for any assistance to help us get through our bills and rent for this month and next, until we can get back on our feet. Please feel free to share! Anything helps, thank you!


Laura Johnson Clark details the struggle her family is facing:

Prayers needed for my sweet girl..Kell is ok but has a serious injury which resulted in two ambulance trips, two hospital stays and a partial amputation of one of her fingers. She already had a broken foot from cheering 10 days ago, and now this. We are devastated to say the least. To top it off my husband who works for the USDOJ has not been paid since Dec 22nd because of the Government shutdown. We are stressed now more than we have ever been and are reaching out for huge prayers and possible donations to help with the medical costs which have already started with the broken foot. Yes there is medical insurance, but the beginning of the year resets all deductibles. The estimated costs for her hand after insurance are approximately 5K. Normally this would be an anticipated expense, but with dwindling savings to cover mortgage and all other living expenses it is something that is a tremendous worry now since there is no anticipated end to the shutdown. At first we thought it would be over before anyone missed a paycheck, but it just keeps going. Anything helps at this point, including prayers and well wishes. Thank you so much to all of you that have donated to this point, it is so very humbling. We love you all.


Alecia Lane, a single mother of two shares her shutdown story:

I’m a single mom with 2 boys (ages 12 and 8). We have been impacted by the government shutdown, I thought I was prepared but I wasn’t prepared for it last this long especially so soon after Christmas.  It has taken me days to ask for help through GoFundMe.  I haven’t struggled like this since I was growing up.  My kids don’t know the kind of life I had cause I never wanted them to grow up the way I did.  I’ve never wanted to tell my kids we can’t do this or eat this because I don’t have the money.  This shutdown became really real when we missed my first paycheck and we are about to miss the next one.  I am retired Navy and blessed to at least get a retirement check , but I still have bills to cover.

I  am normally the one that helps people out, I have given my last to family and friends.  I have opened my home to people in need.  I am hoping someone can do the same for my family.

I like to consider myself a strong individual but truth is this shutdown has broke me down. Any assistance that my family and I can get will be much appreciated.  Also any amount over my goal I will pay it forward and help another furlough employee(s).  Thank you in advance for the acts of kindness.


Kyla Daniels tells her story of working without pay during the shutdown:
The government shutdown is putting a real strain on my family. Right now I’m forced to work without pay. I wasn’t worried about the government shutdown at first, it happened before but being on day 31 makes me nervous for me and family. I’m not getting paid, yet I still get up every morning and burn gas to go to work; I’m paying to go to work… That is not what I signed up for.  A check will come eventually but until then I still have to provide shelter, food, and a substantial way of life for my family . This is not something I ask lightly. There are many others in the same situation I’m in. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Brad Williams explains his situation as a government contractor:

My story has been featured on CNN. I hadn’t set up this campaign yet at that point.

My name is Brad Williams. I’m a married father of two teenagers in Hillsborough, NC, and I’m an IT contractor with the federal government who’s been impacted by the ongoing government shutdown. I have only worked two days in total since the shutdown began.

Unlike federal employees, contractors will not receive any back pay once the shutdown finally ends; we’re at the mercy of our contracting company, and most of us – myself included – simply aren’t paid if we don’t work.

We’re an average, everyday middle-class family, and losing income like this, through no fault of our own, has the potential to be catastrophic. We can cut back or eliminate discretionary spending, but our mortgage, car payment, and utility bills are non-negotiable. Additionally, I have a $615 bill for my vehicle registration coming due, and my vehicle needs new tires. I’ve had to put off my daughter getting braces because of the uncertainty of my health insurance situation as well as simply not having the money to start her treatment. My son is already in the midst of treatment, so we’re playing that one by ear; fortunately, we paid for a significant portion of his treatment up-front.

I need to fill the financial hole left by Washington’s inability to function. I’m looking for another job, but that doesn’t happen overnight.

Daniel Guerra, a recent graduate of Air Traffic Control Academy tells how the shutdown has disrupted his life:

I am an air traffic controller currently working without pay.  I graduated from ATC Academy in September and was assigned to the control tower in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.   I purchased a Jeep the following month and within the same month it had proven unreliable.  I spent two months on a rental while the Jeep was being worked on but, the issue was not resolved.  Finally, I decided it would be best to ship a vehicle out from back home, another major expense.  Early December I planned a trip for the end of January to go to Florida, just to get off of the island for a few days.  Due to the shutdown, I had to cancel on the trip.  Both Spirit Airlines and JetBlue could not refund me for the tickets.

Managing finances for this new career move has been stressful enough as it is, especially on Academy Graduate pay.  The cost of living on the island is quite high and bills are beginning to stack against me.  It is now nearing the second pay period during the shutdown that I will have worked 40hrs and not receive compensation.

Any and all help will be greatly appreciated.   If you have any questions for me, please feel free to ask!

These and hundreds of thousands of others are suffering through similar hardship as the shutdown draws closer to its 40th day.


Walter Yeates

Walter Yeates is a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter who embedded at Standing Rock with military Veterans and First People in December 2016. He covers a range of topics at Citizen Truth and is open for tips and suggestions. Twitter: www.twitter.com/GentlemansHall or www.twitter.com/SmoothJourno Muckrack: https://muckrack.com/walteryeates

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