With the government shutdown leaving many Americans feeling powerless and angry, community is more important than ever. America is built on the collective action of individuals working together to solve community problems and get things done. The shutdown fiasco offers the perfect opportunity for us to revive our legacy and come together, build relationships and bridge the service gaps that have emerged from this mayhem.
Per the Federal Government, below are some of the services that are affected:
- Veterans’ compensation, pension, education, and other benefits could be cut off in the case of an extended shutdown.
- New applications for small business loans and loan guarantees will be immediately halted.
- Hundreds of thousands of additional federal workers will be immediately and indefinitely furloughed without pay.
The impact of cut services, lending and salaries has left many Americans discourage and wondering about what they are going to do about their personal finances and supporting their families. While I’m not directly affected by the government shutdown, I have experienced cut services and a loss of wages. This is what I did to get through those difficult times:
Create a relationship with entities you owe money
I contacted my mortgage, utility, and insurance companies and negotiated payment terms that was suitable for my situation at the time. You could move payments to the end of term, re-amortize balances or do double payments in the following months. We know that the government can’t shut down forever and when they decide to come to their senses it will be business as usual.
Coordinate and communicate with your neighbors
During my time of struggle, I really thought I was the only one having problems until I ran into one of my neighbors at the super market. Thank goodness for long lines; we got into a conversation about how tight times were and decided to do a block pot luck dinner on Fridays. We invited the block to participate and we would each bring one item. 10 neighbors participated and we had leftovers. More important than the meal was the synergy that was created to support our hardships. We were able to volunteer our time to each other for things we would normally pay for like babysitting, tutoring, tax preparation and construction. Think about what you have to offer and engage your community. Know your neighbors and their stories; check in on them.
Below are the links to the full list of services effected by the government shut down as well as some stories about what others are doing to survive it. Please tell us your experience; we would love to hear it.