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How Federal Workers Can Get Help In Houston

Organizations throughout Houston are offering help to those who aren’t getting paid.

The partial shutdown of the federal government has already surpassed the 30-day mark, but there are multiple ways that impacted workers can get help in Houston.

The City of Houston is partnering with the Houston Relief Hub and several local nonprofit groups to provide assistance. Federal employees in need of immediate assistance can apply for a $100 voucher and obtain information about different types of help being offered. Mayor Sylvester Turner noted in a news release that no City financial resources will be used for this endeavor.

Donations

The Furloughed Workers Relief Fund is accepting donations, which are tax-deductible and will be directly distributed to affected federal workers who have proof of employment. Financial donations can be made on the Houston Relief Hub’s website.

Besides financial donations, item donations are also being accepted at the office of Boulevard Realty (833 Studewood, Houston, TX 77007) and at Helping Hands of Houston (600 Kenrick Suite C-16, Houston, TX 77060) starting Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. every day until the shutdown ends. Non-perishable food, cleaning items, diapers and other baby items are particularly useful and the distribution center is located at Helping Hands of Houston.

The Houston Relief Hub is coordinating volunteers to accept and process donations, and maintains a list of available resources and an interactive map on its website. 

Bill Baldwin, founder of Houston Relief Hub, told Houston Matters Tuesday that “any federal employee who is not getting paid that has a federal ID and a paycheck stub” qualifies for assistance, which can include a $100 voucher, as well as instructions on how to apply for a $500 interest free loan, among other things. Listen to the interview with Baldwin here:

Food

In terms of food supplies, Feeding America and the Houston Food Bank can help furloughed workers through their local pantries. Additionally, West Houston Assistance Ministries (WHAM) is also providing food for federal employees whose paychecks are on hold. Affected individuals and families can receive groceries from WHAM’s food pantry at 10501 Meadowglen Lane, Houston, TX 77042, Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

United Way, as well as the 2-1-1 phone line, can provide information on a myriad of services at the local level.

Phone service and insurance

Companies such as AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile and Verizon are offering different types of assistance, such as waiving late fees, to workers impacted by the shutdown. Aflac is also offering a grace period for policyholders impacted by the shutdown, which will extend until payroll resumes for government employees.

Utilities and transportation

CenterPoint Energy is offering payment extensions and payment arrangements, as well as energy assistance programs, while METRO is giving free rides to federal workers who show the operator their government ID.

Household items

The available help also covers things such as diapers and other baby items. The Texas Diaper Bank is offering six months of supplies such as diapers, wipes and feminine hygiene products.

Financial services

In the realm of financial services, big names such as Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo, as well as credit card companies like Discover and credit unions such as FedChoice and Congressional Federal Credit Union, are offering different programs to assist furloughed federal employees that, for example, include skipping a mortgage payment and having late fees and interest charges reversed.

A full list of services can be viewed on Houston Relief Hub.

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