Help is available to local federal employees affected by government shutdown

Government shutdown is now the longest in U.S. history


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BY ERIKA NORTON

About 800,000 federal employees are either furloughed or working without pay during what is the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

According to The New York Times, these federal workers have each missed more than $5,000 in wages on average so far. With seemingly no end in sight to the shutdown, local nonprofits, businesses, and leaders are stepping in to try and help those affected:

The United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region is making sure local federal employees know about the community resources available to them.

“We and United Ways nationwide have an incredible resource, our 2-1-1 helpline,” said Jeannie Montano, president and CEO of United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, in a statement. “Anyone can dial 2-1-1 to find the help they need, including food pantries, rent assistance, utility coverage and more. In New York State, the 2-1-1 helpline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Help is not limited to the shutdown, but is available for federal employees whenever they need it.”

Billy Bob’s Homestyle Cooking in Hariman is also showing support to local federal employees and their families affected by the shutdown by offering them free fried chicken, mac and cheese, and collard greens.

The offer begins Friday, Jan. 18.

Airbnb, the popular short-term rental website, recently announced they are offering assistance to federal employees. Any executive branch employee who shares their home for three nights anytime over the three months, between December 18, 2018, and March 18, 2019, will get paid an extra night on them — up to $110, which is the average per night income of U.S. hosts.

“As the typical U.S. host makes approximately $8,700 a year from sharing their home, we hope this boost will serve to supplement the income government employees already earn from home sharing, helping to address fast emerging financial challenges for the foreseeable future,” Airbnb said.

State legislators consider reliefState officials are also looking for ways to help the communities they serve. Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R,C,I,Ref-New Windsor) announced that he co-sponsored a bill that would provide for a temporary extension of payment of real property taxes for federal employees who are currently going unpaid or are furloughed during the ongoing federal government shutdown.

The bill passed in the State Assembly and is now awaiting action by the State Senate.

“This legislation provides a helping hand to local residents who are federal employees currently dealing with the longest federal government shutdown in history,” Schmitt said in a statement. “The bill gives local governments the option to extend the deadline for payment of property taxes, with no penalties, until 90 days after the shutdown ends for those residents who qualify.”

The bill is also sponsored by State Sen. James Skoufis (D-Woodbury.)



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