The Shutdown: What it Means for New Yorkers


Thousands of New Yorkers have felt the real effects of the longest federal government shutdown in history. 

It's day 27.  New Yorkers and everyday people around the country, in big cities and small cities, are witnessing the showdown between the Democrats in Congress and President Trump.  The deadlock started when the United States Congress and President Donald Trump could not agree on an appropriations bill to fund the operations of the federal government for the 2019 fiscal year.  Specifically, Trump sought to include $5.7 billion in funding for a border wall as part of the US government's spending budget and the Democrats were not having it.  

Screen Shot 2019-01-16 at 12.31.32 PMThere doesn't seem to be an end in sight. Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even asked the President to move the day of the State of the Union address -- now set for January 29 - because of over stretched security agencies.  Read Trump's response. 

So what does this mean for New Yorkers? Mayor De Blasio broke it down for reporters at a press conference today, “In my six years as Mayor, New York City has faced storms, attacks and political crises. On the 27th day of the Trump shutdown, I cannot promise we’ll be okay. Beginning March 1st, millions of New Yorkers will lose a total of $500 million a month in vital federal supports, such as food stamps and rental assistance. Any attempt to backfill the void left by our federal government would be woefully inadequate to the scale of this crisis.  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.”

The week of January 7th was the first week federal government employees that are furloughed did not receive a paycheck. There are 18,000 federal employees that work at affected agencies in New York City and an unknown number of low-wage federal contractors. 

So as it stands right now, millions of New Yorkers and their families who rely on various federally funded government programs, such as food stamps, the New York City Housing Authority, school lunch and rental assistance are also at risk of being affected by the shutdown. At minimum, two million New Yorkers stand to lose these vital programs come March 1st.

 Watch more about the shutdown and Trumps presidency on Represent NYC.



According to the Mayor's office, New Yorkers will lose out on $500 million monthly if the federal government shutdown continues past February. Filling this void with City funds would be unsustainable, leading the City to run out of money before the end of year. However, the City does have a number of resources that may help those experiencing hardships because of the shutdown.

New Yorkers experiencing hardships can visit to stay updated on the latest developments and to find a variety of City programs that provide relief, including food pantries, employment referrals, landlord mediation, eviction prevention, rental and mortgage arrears assistance, veterans’ services and more.

Beginning today, many New York City food stamp recipients will see their February benefits released early rather than in the month of February. The release of March benefits is uncertain due to the federal shutdown.

Programs at risk include:

The fight against opioids – The City has trained more than 1,000 health care providers on prescribing buprenorphine to their patients suffering from opioid addiction. Some new prescribers have reported experiencing a delay in receiving approval from the DEA to prescribe buprenorphine since the shutdown started. If you are a provider or a patient in need of help, please call 311 or 1-888-NYC-WELL to find a buprenorphine prescriber near you.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps – City residents receive nearly $230 million in federal SNAP benefits per month. Nearly 1.6 million New Yorkers rely on this critical benefit to feed their families. The federal government has authorized release of February SNAP/food stamps benefits as early as today. People should plan accordingly, as this is not an additional benefit.

Section 8 – NYCHA and HPD respectively spend $97 million and $34 million in federal dollars per month for this program. More than 280,000 New Yorkers utilize Section 8 to pay their rent.

Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) – The City receives approximately $1 million in federal funding per month for this program. New York City relies on these funds to help fight homelessness.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) – City residents receives $26 million in federal funding for this program. More than 300,000 New Yorkers and their families rely on this program to put food on the table.

Continuum of Care – The City spends $5 million in federal dollars per month for this program. This program provides rental assistance for more than 4,000 homeless New Yorkers.

New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) – NYCHA spends $79 million per month for operating expenses such as salaries. Approximately 10,000 NYCHA employees will be affected by the government shutdown.

Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids (HOPWA) – The City receives more than $4 million in federal funding per month for this program. This is the only federal program dedicated to the housing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Thousands of New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS rely on these funds for housing and support services.

School Lunch – The City spends $43 million per month for this program. More than 1 million New York students rely on this program.

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