SILVER SPRING, Md. — One member of the Montgomery County Council is urging local social service providers to be flexible as tens of thousands of federal employees in the area go without pay during the partial government shutdown.
“What I’m doing is proactively getting ahead of any adverse economic effects that are really going to ripple through the D.C. region,” said councilmember Evan Glass.
Glass said he has contacted groups that work with the county’s Department of Health and Human Services, urging them to make services available to federal employees who are struggling financially.
“I’ve been making calls since Monday to nonprofits that provide vital food, rent and utility assistance,” he said.
Glass wants social service providers to waive eligibility requirements for federal employees and contractors during the shutdown.
Most providers require that recipients meet certain income requirements that are often below the poverty line.
“We really have an obligation to make sure that everyone in the community is able to maintain their homes, provide for their families and keep the lights on,” Glass said.
More than 75,000 federal employees live in Montgomery County, Maryland, and there are 3,500 businesses in the county that contract with the federal government.
“We don’t know how long the shutdown is going to last, and people in the county are scared,” Glass said.
Glass said he has also talked with utility companies and other business, urging them to be flexible and creative in allowing federal employees and contractors to pay their bills through reduced payment plans.
“Many are creating contingency plans to be able to support members of the community who will soon need assistance,” Glass said.
Negotiations broke down Wednesday, between President Donald Trump and Democrats, over the president’s push for border wall funding.
Trump walked out of a meeting with congressional leaders — “I said bye-bye,” he tweeted soon after — as efforts to end the impasse fell into deeper disarray.
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees now face lost paychecks Friday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.