As the government shutdown enters its 28th day, the effects are starting to be felt by the 420,000 federal employees working without pay and the 380,000 federal employees who have been furloughed. Last week, thousands of federal employees missed their first paychecks of 2019. Just as significant, during shutdown, janitors, security guards, and other federal contractors receive no back pay.
In response, the Cape and Islands United Way and its community partners are preparing for an expected uptick in calls to 2-1-1 from those seeking assistance with rent and mortgage payments, utility bills and groceries.
“As the government shutdown continues with little end in sight, more and more people are feeling the impact, especially our proud and reliable Coast Guardsmen who are not protected, unlike other branches of the military,” said Mark Skala, president and CEO of the Cape and Islands United Way. “Those of us who call Cape Cod and the Islands home, or for the many visitors, we understand the vital role the Coast Guard plays in our community and we are here to support them.”
Mass 2-1-1; the Commonwealth’s 3-digit non-emergency hot line service will anchor United Way’s community support by providing information about local social services, including the availability of public benefits and corporate assistance programs. Mass 2-1-1 specialists can help those in need connect to food pantries, health care services and utility and eviction prevention assistance. Callers also can receive information on mental health counseling, transportation, job training, substance use recovery services, child care and volunteer opportunities.
Mass 2-1-1 is a free, confidential referral and information service that connects people from all communities to a specialist who can help find local health and human services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, answering calls in over 140 languages. For more information visit www.Mass211.org.