Mayor Bill de Blasio warned Thursday that if the government shutdown continues, it could cost New Yorkers — especially the most vulnerable — hundreds of millions of dollars in needed benefits.
The mayor said he could not guarantee New Yorkers that any end is in sight, due to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the situation in Washington D.C. The current shutdown is the longest running federal shutdown in U.S. History. If it continues into March, De Blasio said the city would lose half a million dollars a month in funding, and there would be no money for 1.6 million city SNAP recipients or for 280,000 city section 8 recipients.
If it continues into April, the mayor said funding for school lunches will be at stake.
"This is not a crisis that hits and just levels off. It gets worse," he said.
De Blasio said that some New York SNAP recipients are receiving checks with double their usual amount in preparation for the impending funding cutoff. He urged those recipients to be cautious with their SNAP funds and prepare for the worst.
The mayor said there are 18,000 federal employees and an unknown number of contracted workers in the city who have had to deal with furloughed salaries. His office set up the website nyc.gov/governmentshutdown that provides information on such resources as food pantries, mental health services and help with water payment plans.
"We’re going try a few things, like for example, like convince banks not to foreclose on mortgages of people affected by this. We’re going to try and convince landlords not to evict people," the mayor said.
As of Thursday evening, the shutdown showed no signs of ending as President Donald Trump continued his war of words with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and postponed a planned flight overseas. De Blasio called Trump’s insistence to fund a wall on the nation’s southern border a "manufactured crisis" and urged him to end the shutdown.
"President Trump, you shut down the government over a fake crisis at the border, but now you are creating a real humanitarian crisis in New York City and cities around the country," the mayor said.