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City Council Calls on President to End Shutdown

[COLUMBUS-OH] In light of the national and local consequences associated with the ongoing standoff in Washington, City Council is calling on the President to end the federal government shutdown.

“The President’s political stunts threaten more than 12,000 households with potential eviction and 50,000 families could soon be unable to buy food,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “The partisan politics of the White House is destabilizing the local social safety net, including severe reductions in housing choice vouchers and SNAP benefits.”

In response to the challenge that residents are facing, Council is considering action. “We are proposing a program that would allow furloughed federal workers to defer their City utility payments until they are allowed to return to work with pay,” said Council President Shannon Hardin. “I would encourage our partners in the community to consider similar measures that would provide temporary relief as well.”

According to the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority, 12,288 households that currently receive a housing choice voucher to subsidize rent payments will potentially lose their benefit as of March 1, 2019. At the same time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicated Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are uncertain as of March 1.

“As a City, as a community, we will do what we can to help our residents during this unprecedented moment,” said President Pro Tem Michael Stinziano. “As citizens and neighborhoods look for answers, we stand ready to help serve them to find solutions.”

"This shutdown has a ripple effect throughout our entire community," said Councilmember Priscilla Tyson. "When you don’t receive a pay check you cannot pay for your basic needs and services having an traumatic effect on a family’s mental wellbeing."

“The President needs to stop his political theatrics,” said Councilmember Mitchell J. Brown. “His inability to fund a political project is jeopardizing the safety and financial security of families around the country.”

Local governments are unable to fill the gap created by the shutdown of critical federal resources, and the ripple effect of the shutdown will be felt by the City’s college students, small businesses and landlords, among others.

“Donald Trump’s shutdown harms Columbus families across a broad range of areas, from vital housing and nutrition needs to student financial aid and mortgage applications,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Brown.

“Too many of our residents are suffering because of a temper tantrum at the White House. Instead, we should work together across local, state, and federal governments on proactive policies to support living wages, affordable housing, and pathways out of poverty for our residents,” she continued.

Councilmember Emmanuel Remy agrees.

“As civic leaders, we have the responsibility to maintain the prosperity of our constituents. This government shutdown is not the solution, is harming families and needs to end now,” said Councilmember Remy.

Council appointee, Shayla Favor believes uplifting community should be the focus of public service.

“In Columbus, we’re committed to building bridges, not walls,” said Favor. “Providing public utility assistance to furloughed federal workers demonstrates our commitment to our Columbus residents and our unwavering disapproval of these shameless party politics.”