(KPIX 5) — Thousands of federal employees in the Bay Area are still coping with the lingering effects of the last government shutdown as well as the ongoing anxiety over the prospect that another one might be just two weeks away.
“I know for me I won’t be doing a lot of fun activities, going out and spending money on frivolous things,” said Janette Rocha, Chief Steward for the Ames Federal Employees Union.
Rocha says she cancelled a family vacation to visit her son in the aftermath of the shutdown. She says her family like many of her fellow employees are looking to cut expenses and build up their financial reserves just in case there’s another shutdown when federal funding runs out in two weeks.
“Once you’re behind on something, it’s really hard to catch up — especially if you’re living month to month in the Bay Area because the rent is astronomical,” Rocha said.
An estimated 800,000 federal employees received their first paychecks in over a month after President Trump announced an end to the longest government shutdown in the country’s history.
Federal workers were left scrambling to make ends meet in the wake of the shutdown. Some got short-term loans, others leaned on support from their family, friends or community. Some workers at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View turned to local food banks and pantry to put food on the table during the furlough.
“It made me very angry because I felt so helpless,” said David Schwenke, the Ames Federal Employees Union President.