Shutdown effects in Pima County - Tucson News Now

Shutdown effects in Pima County

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The first to feel the effects of the federal government shutdown in Tucson were the employees in the federal building.

According to security, only a couple of offices were open.

Workers had to be out of the building by noon.

The Forest Service had a short meeting and then dispersed.

the Internal Revenue Service, General Services and the Federal Deposit Insurance Service share the downtown offices.

Most of them are not considered essential services so will be off work until further notice.

Including the 1,500 civilian workers furloughed at Davis Monthan, the lost wages impact could cause an already weak recovery to get even weaker.

"And hic cup in the recovery will have a negative effect," says Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry. "It will slow the process of recovery."

Next to feel the brunt of the shutdown, will be the poor.

The WIC program, which provides food and formula to pregnant women and new mothers will run out of money October 11. Unless new money is found, services will come to an end.

"We don't have the financial capability to pick up what the federal obligations are for the program," says Huckelberry. "That's when our services end."

He says there is no backup plan to keep the program active but the state of Arizona may have some funding until the end of the month.

The city of Tucson received news this afternoon federal funding for its Choice Voucher Housing Program for October has been approved but it has nothing for November. The program services 5,000 families.

The Casa Maria Soup Kitchen serves 200 families and 599 individuals every day. If the shutdown affects food programs, the WIC program and government housing, it could increase demand there.

"I'm afraid if the safety net goes to hell we're going to get inundated with poor people seeking real basic services like food to survive" says Brian Flagg, an advocate for the poor and director of the soup kitchen. "They're going to come here in droves and we can barely serve the hundreds of people we serve right now."

Casa Maria serves up to 200 families and 500 individuals on any given day.

"We're pretty much maxed out," Flagg says.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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