January 14, 2019
Press Release
Chicagoans are Losing Vital Services

Chicago, IL—Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García convened this morning a round table with community service organizations and residents to raise awareness about how the longest ever government shutdown is affecting people in the 4th Congressional District. 

The organizations represented include Erie Family Health Centers, Connections for Abused Women and their Children, La Casa Norte, Instituto del Progreso Latino, Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, Mujeres Latinas en Acción and the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). 

“I have heard from my constituents and from the organizations in our district that are trying to continue their work to help keep people safe, healthy and in their homes. What I heard was enormous anxiety and concern about their ability to continue providing the services that so many in our communities rely on. This government shutdown is irresponsible and harmful,” said Congressman García. 

According to NATCA, there are about 100,000 federal employees and federal contractors in Illinois. About 7,500 of them are furloughed or working without pay.

“Erie Family Health Centers is concerned about any uncertainty the current government shutdown may cause our patients, many of whom rely on government benefits like SNAP and WIC to care for their families. While we feel fortunate that the Department of Health and Human Services is not directly impacted by the shutdown, we know that halted or delayed social service benefits can have a ripple effect on the health of our patients. Until there is a resolution, Erie will do everything we can to help support those impacted,” said Lee Francis, President & CEO of Erie Family Health Centers.

Stephanie Love-Patterson, Executive Director of Connections for Abused Women and their Children pointed that “while the current administration is playing a dangerous game with the government shutdown, victims of domestic violence are left with questions about their safety.  Some organizations that depend on federal funding are struggling with ways in which to continue life-saving services. Individuals who are already living in fear of their abusers are now also in fear of what will happen to critical resources to increase their safety; including hotline services, counseling and VAWA petitions.”

Azalea Acuna, Program Manager at La Casa Norte, said, “every day La Casa Norte is focused on ending homelessness and uplifting the most vulnerable…our children and families. The federal government shutdown would be catastrophic to our work and literally put children and families back on the streets, thereby risking lives and disrupting the daily activities that enrich lives, like going to school, having a family meal and safe space to sleep at night.”

Mr. Dylan Kosson, Attorney & National Representative of AFGE, said “with each day the government remains unfounded, the misery of the shutdown is compounded for federal employees, their families, and those who rely on vital government services. This impasse, in which the American people are being held hostage as a bargaining chip, is wholly unacceptable and shameful. It needs to end immediately.”

“On my first day in Congress, right after being sworn in, House Democrats passed legislation to open the government immediately,” said Rep. García. “It’s time to end this shutdown.”