Via Michael Appleton/ Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr
If the federal government shutdown continues into March, the city will lose $500 million monthly, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned Thursday. Without funding for federally funded government programs, more than two million New Yorkers could lose access to vital benefits, including food stamps, Section 8 vouchers, and public school lunch. The shutdown, now the longest in history, began last month after Congress failed to reach an appropriations deal and as President Donald Trump refuses to withdraw his request for a $5.6 billion border wall.
“In my six years as Mayor, New York City has faced storms, attacks and political crises,” de Blasio said in a statement. “During each of these crises, I told New Yorkers the truth: that we’d be okay,” said de Blasio. “On the 27th day of the Trump shutdown, I cannot promise we’ll be okay.”
There are 18,000 federal employees, as well as a number of federal contract workers, in the city that have been affected by the shutdown, with none of them receiving paychecks since the week of Jan. 7.
If the shutdown continues past February, millions of New Yorkers will be at risk of losing access to government programs. According to the city, nearly 1.6 million New Yorkers rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). NYC food stamp recipients will get their February benefits early this month, as the release of March benefits remains uncertain.
Without funds from Washington, more than 280,000 New Yorkers who use Section 8 to pay rent and 1 million students who utilize the free school lunch program will possibly be affected.
Other programs at risk include Emergency Solutions Grants (funds to help homelessness), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, NYCHA, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA).
And as 6sqft reported last week, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority stands to lose $150 million per month in federal funds if the shutdown continues. “They may have to borrow which would increase their costs,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said during a press conference last week, referring to the MTA. “They may have to cut back, which would be a very bad thing.”
The mayor urged anyone facing hardships from the shutdown to visit nyc.gov/federalshutdown or call 311 for city resources. “We’ll continue to do what we can and fight in Washington, but one thing is clear: this Trump shutdown must end today – our people are counting on a functional government,” de Blasio said.
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