The government has been shut down for 27 days as of January 17th, making it the longest in U.S. history.  While the affects to the national landscape is all over the news, with employees furloughed or working without pay while the budget struggle happens on the political national stage, one local politician is focused on the Laramie community and the affects the shutdown may have on its citizens.

Brian Harrington, newly elected City Counselor representing Ward 1, and also a business owner in Laramie, stopped into the Townsquare Media studios to discuss how the government shutdown might affect Laramie citizens and organizations, and offer solutions for anyone who may be feeling the pinch of the shutdown.

Laramie is home to around 187 federal employees, according to the department of workforce services. "This results in about $2.3 million every quarter," Harrington said. "The longer the shutdown goes on, the longer it's going to build up and have adverse consequences to those families and our community."

Harrington spent most of the last week searching for solutions for families that may be affected by the shutdown, and how the Laramie community can come together to support them.

"There is an array of services [financial institutions in Laramie] are already providing, most of them have said that, to date, they have not dealt with a lot of people who have needed this resource. Though that may change depending on how long the shutdown goes on," Harrington said, adding that UniWyo FCU is currently offering zero percent loans to their members to help make ends meet.

 

"This week I've had conversations with both the director of Interfaith and the Laramie Soup Kitchen, both of them are two of the first places you think of when you think of food insecurity in Laramie. Both are eager and prepared to help people dealing with the shutdown," Harrington said. "I spoke with Ted Kramer and he was telling me a story about a furloughed employee that had come in, not for a free meal, but because they had cleaned their house so many times that they just couldn't be there anymore and they needed to do something, so they were at the soup kitchen to volunteer."

Interfaith Good Samaritan has secured a second commodities drop off for this month, so if you go to the Econo Lodge on McCue street, this Friday January 18th from 1-3 you can get food- no questions asked.

On the topic of Government programs, such as SNAP and VA benefits, Harrington says to look beyond just that affect that could be impacted by the shutdown, but also to the wide array of non-profit organizations in the Laramie community, and how they will begin to feel the pinch as well if the shutdown continues.

 

"The economy is a web that we're all caught up in, as one part suffers, we're all going to feel that."

Looking to the future to make sure that those who need help know where to go, Harrington says to turn to the organizations already in place to help aid with these situations." As a community we need to come together and support those organizations in any way we can. If you have ten bucks when you're at Ridley's next, drop some food in those blue bins for interfaith. If you have a friend that you know is affected by the shutdown, offer to make them dinner. Let's make people not feel alone."

Harrington finishes, saying Laramie should: "Always come together."