Helping Federal Workers Weather the Shutdown

Services available to low-income households to help them avoid eviction or keep their homes heated may be resources for federal workers affected by the extended government shutdown. Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) is reaching out to unpaid federal workers who are temporarily unable to afford their basic living expenses to let them know about programs that could help avert a crisis.

                “Federal workers impacted by the shutdown may not be aware of the many programs SEVCA offers because they haven’t needed our help before,” said Steve Geller, SEVCA’s Executive Director. “In addition to offering services like homelessness prevention and crisis fuel assistance, SEVCA can work with them to access other community services they might need due to this predicament that has nothing to do with them. We want them to know that we value the work they do, object to the way they’re being treated, and sympathize with the difficult position they’ve been put in because of this senseless shutdown.”

Windham and Windsor County residents in need are invited to call SEVCA toll-free at (800) 464-9951 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday to learn about ways the organization can help. They may also contact SEVCA’s local offices at the following numbers:

     Brattleboro area: (802) 254-2795

     Springfield area: (802) 885-6153

     White River Junction area: (802) 295-5215

Those who currently qualify for assistance programs, such as 3SquaresVT (food stamps), and are worried about how the extended shutdown may impact their benefits are also invited to call SEVCA for information and assistance, or they can get information to contact the relevant state office directly at https://dcf.vermont.gov/mybenefits.

                While the furloughed workers and those forced to work during the shutdown won’t necessarily meet the specific eligibility criteria for all programs, SEVCA will use some of its existing flexible resources and seek additional donations to try to help where possible. The organization will also gladly accept donations of gas cards, grocery cards, and cash contributions to its “Share the Warmth” emergency fuel assistance fund to help meet the need. Individuals may donate online at http://www.sevca.org/share-the-warmth or send checks or gift cards to 91 Buck Drive, Westminster, VT 05158.

               SEVCA would also like to know about businesses and other organizations that are offering free services, special discounts, or benefits to federal workers during the shutdown. We will be compiling this information and posting it on our website and through social media. Please contact Becky Himlin at (802) 722-4575, ext. 163 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to help get the word out.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead