Throughout the Chicago-area, families are sharing their stories of how the government shutdown is impacting them, and for one furloughed EPA worker and her family, things have been a challenge without a steady paycheck coming in.
Felicia Chase, who works for the EPA, has been furloughed for more than a month because of the shutdown, while her husband, who also works for the government, has been forced to work without pay.
“We had to go into our savings accounts, and into our rainy day fund, because of it,” Chase said.
While Felicia Chase has been home from work because of the shutdown, her husband works as an air traffic controller and has been forced to work without pay because he is considered an essential employee.
“He was already working six days a week with mandatory overtime, so now he’s doing that as well as trying to figure out some way to get to work,” she said.
Chase says it’s frustrating to watch the back-and-forth in Washington over the shutdown, because it’s not only impacting her family, but the communities she serves as well.
She is one of the EPA scientists dispatched to Flint, Michigan for the water crisis there, and she says that kind of crisis could happen elsewhere because there is no one to administer or enforce laws like the Clean Air and Clean Drinking Water acts.
In the meantime, Felicia is seeing stories of federal workers turning to food depositories, but even though she’s considered doing so as well, she hasn’t taken that step yet.
“It makes me sick to think that I might be taking food out of someone’s mouth who is in a more needy situation,” she said.