(KPIX 5) — On Day 20 of the government shutdown, thousands of Bay Area federal workers were left feeling the financial strain of being furloughed or working without pay.
All federal employees now have missed at least one paycheck, some of them two.
Frustrated federal employees took to the streets in San Francisco Thursday to say enough is enough.
“We’re here to demand the 800-thousand federal workers who were furloughed or working without pay be brought back to work and made whole,” said Jonathan Wright of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Throughout the Bay Area, efforts are underway to help workers and their families.
The Local, a coffeehouse in Alameda, has been collecting food and supplies to give to Coast Guard families.
“We have done boxes of diapers, boxes of laundry detergent, boxes of food, gift cards as well,” said Otto Wright, who owns the coffee house.
In Mountain View, the Ames Federal Employees Union set up a help center in a room at the Ramada Inn.
The union wrote 100 dollar checks to any member who came in.
“It’s not enough to get by. But it is enough to pay a grocery bill or pay a cell phone bill,” according to Jeanette Rocha, the union’s Chief Steward.
NASA Ames Research Center workers include scientists and researchers who make up to $150,000 dollars a year. But in a high cost area like Silicon Valley its just enough to get by.
Sherri Shore said her mortgage is due – and her bank is demanding its money. But she can’t pay.
“The mortgage lender was like ‘Too bad, we don’t have any programs for government employees, so you’re just going to have to go into foreclosure and then maybe we can help you,’ which is something we really don’t want to do,” Shore said.
The member’s credit union is also offering them short term, low interest loans to pay for mortgage, rent or car payments until the shutdown is over.
But the hardest hit maybe excepted employees who work in health or public safety. They still have to report for duty but aren’t getting paid.
“They can’t go out and find other employment in the meantime, they’re ineligible for unemployment because they’re still working,” said Lee Stone, a union rep. “At some juncture, when they have to feed their families, they’re not going to be so compliant.”