Durham DSS braces for worst amid shutdown
Posted October 10, 2013
Updated October 11, 2013
Durham, N.C. — The Durham County Social Services Department said Thursday it plans to ask county commissioners for $235,000 to keep limited federally funded programs running during the ongoing government shutdown.
Director Michael Becketts said the county's most vulnerable people are among those hardest hit by the shutdown.
Meals on Wheels, Work First and in-home care for the elderly have already been suspended, and childcare services could be next if the impasse in Washington continues.
At a news conference Thursday, Becketts warned people about the potential trouble ahead.
"The reason that this is important is to really let the community know that something may come that’s going to affect their lives," he said. "We want to let them know that right now because we don’t think it’s fair for us to be planning to turn something off if we have to – not because we want to – and then a drop a ball and tell people that they've got to stop doing something tomorrow."
Robert Myers said his family could lose its grip if a deal isn't reached soon. He and his girlfriend depend on subsidies to pay for childcare while they are at work.
"It means a lot to me. I just recently got a job," he said.
Without the subsidies, "somebody is going to have to cut days of work, meaning less money in the house and (making it) harder for bills to get paid," Myers said.
Becketts said he hopes it doesn't come to that.
"The one that causes us all to shudder is the potential of having to suspend childcare services," he said.