New Yorkers highlight the human cost of the government shutdown

government shutdown furloughed workers
Charlie McNally, with his 16-month-old son, has been furloughed from HUD for nearly two weeks. He and his wife, who now works part time, are cutting back on non-essentials.
Credit: Bess Adler

After two weeks furloughed from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Charlie McNally, 33, began looking at the application to file for unemployment benefits this weekend.

“We’ve cut back to the bare essentials and our cushion is running out,” McNally explained, describing what furloughed life is like in Sunnyside, Queens with his wife and 16-month old son.

McNally is one of at least 27,000 federal workers in the city left adrift during the shutdown, worrying about mortgage payments and rent, college tuition, health care and even food.

government shutdown furloughed workers
Cynthia McKnight, furloughed from HUD, said she’s delayed taking her family to the eye doctor during the shutdown to avoid co-pays.
Credit: Bess Adler

Clinton Hill resident and HUD employee Cynthia McKnight has been financially supporting her mother since she had a stroke last year.

“You do save, but it’s still a hardship,” said McKnight, whose 18-year-old just started classes at Baruch College. “I just get the necessities. Food — I shop at a co-op now to save money.”

Many workers like McKnight were not only concerned about the shutdown’s effect on their families and coworkers, but the citizens their departments serve.

“It is services that are not there for the people,” U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney said at a rally in front of the East Midtown Society Security Office on Monday.

The shutdown is even preventing people from getting help that should be available to them.

Shawnee Swinton, a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident furloughed from Health and Human Services, said she was denied unemployment benefits because she couldn’t access the right W-2 forms during the shutdown.

“It impacts my ability to take care of the family, pay my bills, be able to provide food,” said the 46-year-old single mother of two.

Shawnee Swinton, furloughed from HHS, worries about paying back unemployment after the shutdown is over. Credit: Bess Adler
Shawnee Swinton, furloughed from HHS, worries about paying back unemployment after the shutdown is over.
Credit: Bess Adler

“New York is very expensive and a lot of people already live paycheck to paycheck,” McKnight added.

McNally’s wife, working part time for the past month after having their son, is now the family’s sole breadwinner. The couple is considering taking out loans to pay for their mortgage, due Nov. 2, should the stalemate continue.

“One of the big perks — you think — when getting into federal services is the stability that it offers, and if that disappears that’s a big problem,” McNally said.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Man survives shooting in Bronx apartment building lobby

A man survived a shot to his abdomen on Sunday after authorities say an unknown suspect fired off inside the Bronx apartment building lobby.

News

Easter Egg hunt horror as skydiver plummets to…

A FAMILY Easter egg hunt ended in horror when a skydiver plummeted to his death in a New York garden after his parachute failed to…

News

Boston Marathon 2014 on high alert, Red Sox…

One year on from the horrific Boston Marathon bombings a ring of steel has been thrown around today's race, and a city stands defiant against…

News

Boston Strong: One year on from Boston Marathon…

  For more than a century the Boston Marathon has been an even centred around sportsmanship, endurance and athleticism, but there's no denying the face…

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.