Furloughed federal workers: There is help available

Local agencies step up efforts to help families facing financial stress
Posted at 6:31 PM, Jan 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-11 08:44:41-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The partial government shutdown is now in its third week and putting many furloughed workers and their families into financial stress.

"That can be devastating to someone's financial situation," said Noelle Carter, president and CEO of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo.

"Not getting a paycheck means people can't pay their bills and you have to think about the impact on their credit," added Carter.

Payments to credit cards, auto loans and mortgages that are 30 days late will stay on a person's credit report for seven (7) years.

To help furloughed federal workers, Consumer Credit Counseling is dropping its normal $25 consultation fee to help prevent affected workers from falling behind and informing them of hardship options that exist.

More information can be found here: Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo

Federal workers have donated millions of dollars over the years to non-profit organizations through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC).

Now, some of those recipients, like the United Way and Food Bank of WNY, are trying to return the favor.

"It (CFC) has been a huge benefit to this community and this is a nice opportunity to reach back and help people," said Karen Christie, Chief Community Services Officer for the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County.

The United Way encourages struggling families to call 2-1-1 which is a referral line operated by the United Way and NYS to help people find the services they need.

More information about the 2-1-1 program can be found here: 211WNY

At this time of year, going without pay can be extra difficult due to winter bills.

"People have to decide whether they are going to pay the heating bill or buy food," added Catherine Shick from the Food Bank of WNY.

The food bank is encouraging worried individuals to call (716-852-1305) so they be put in contact with one of over 300 agencies that provide food assistance in the four WNY counties that the Food Bank services (Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus & Chautauqua)

People can also search out food agencies close to their home by using the Food Bank website: Food Bank locator

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in the attached report.