The government shutdown has officially crossed the one-month mark and things are going downhill — and fast.
With too much news for one person to process, there’s a good chance you’ve probably missed a bunch of big things that have gone down. Yes, you probably heard the stories of workers taking part-time jobs just to make ends meet. But did you also know that food stamps are running out?
More on that and a few other news bites you missed the last couple of weeks below.
1. Food Bank Shortages
With many furloughed workers relying on charity, food pantries are running out fast. There was even a food bank set up specifically for the Coast Guard in Washington state, which barely lasted. House Rep. Derek Kilmer told The Hill,
“I spoke with the commandant from our region just this last week. He said we opened up a food bank, and the community opened up a food bank [and] within a few hours we had to shut it down because we were out of food.”
2. Air Travel Safety is at Risk
You’ve probably already heard about the struggles TSA workers have faced and that without pay, fewer and fewer employees are showing up to work. But according to 34 air travel unions, there’s actually a much bigger issue going on: traveling itself is becoming dangerous. In a joint statement, they said,
“In our risk-averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented.”
3. Millions Facing Possible Eviction
One of the many departments that are shut down right now is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which helps provide low-income housing. According to Washington state Senator Maria Cantwell, 2.2 million Americans are currently at risk of eviction because of the shutdown.
The situation is so dire that 170 Congress Representatives came together to urge Trump to reopen the government. In a letter to the president, they wrote,
“This partial shutdown is undermining both the short-term operations and long-term viability of our affordable housing programs that serve over four million Americans, the majority of whom are seniors and people with disabilities living on a fixed income. For the sake of the families whose homes are at stake, we urge you to end the shutdown and protect the American people.”
Because of the #TrumpShutdown, an estimated 2.2 million low-income households are among those at risk of eviction from their homes. For the sake of the families whose homes are at stake, this shutdown must end.https://t.co/RwAlnbV5xu
— Sen. Maria Cantwell (@SenatorCantwell) January 24, 2019
4. National Parks Are Getting Vandalized
National Parks are also taking a toll with all park staff furloughed. And with nobody to protect the parks, they’re getting absolutely trashed.
A Twitter user shared disturbing images of piled-up garbage along with the caption,
“Soiled diapers, human waste, food scraps, alcohol bottles, more broken sleds and wildlife scat composed of styrofoam pieces. And this is just next to the closed bathroom facilities. I took what I could but had to leave so much more.”
Update 10 Jan 2018: Soiled diapers, human waste, food scraps, alcohol bottles, more broken sleds and wildlife scat composed of styrofoam pieces. And this is just next to the closed bathroom facilities. I took what I could but had to leave so much more. #ShutdownStories pic.twitter.com/8HLQs6Qhhy
— Public Land Lover (@publiclandlvr) January 11, 2019
5. Federal Workers Are Struggling to Hold Their Lives Together
We’ve all heard the government shutdown stories: thousands of people who relied on paychecks are now struggling to make ends meet and are even taking odd jobs like babysitting gigs and driving Ubers.
You can read first-hand stories here.
6. TSA Workers Were Promised Pay They Never Received
As mentioned earlier, TSA employees are calling in sick in order to take paying jobs. In an attempt to convince workers to come in, the TSA Admin. promised to pay workers for one day’s work in addition to a $500 bonus. But for many, that money never came through.
According to reporting by Buzzfeed, workers were either paid less than promised or not at all. A TSA worker told the website,
“It was all over Facebook, you know, ‘Nothing in my account’ on Tuesday morning.”
Another anonymous employee told Buzzfeed that she had only been paid for 6-hours worth of work when she had worked a full 8-hour day.
7. Food Stamps Are Running Out
According to Trump, government employees should rely on food stamps while on furlough. But how can they do that when food stamps are quickly running out?
According to CNN, funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Program (the official name for the food stamp program) will officially run out in February.
— STIR (@Fried_Kimchi) October 31, 2013
The program was able to give out February benefits in advance but there’s no guarantee that the stamps will last by then. Food stamps are supposed to “supplement” households, but these days, some families are relying purely on food stamps to survive.
March food stamps are still up-in-the-air.
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Photo: CCTV / Twitter