New York City could lose access to vital programs if government shutdown extends to March

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- From food stamps to housing assistance, at least 2 million New York City residents are getting ready to lose access to vital programs if the government shutdown continues into March.

Thousands of New Yorkers have already felt the real effects of the longest federal government shutdown in history, including 18,000 furloughed federal employees who missed a paycheck the week of January 7. But the impact stands to worsen for those who rely on various federally funded programs.

New Yorkers will lose out on $500 million monthly if the federal government shutdown continues past February, and officials said filling the void with city funds would be unsustainable.

"In my six years as mayor, New York City has faced storms, attacks and political crises," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "During each of these crises, I told New Yorkers the truth, that we'd be OK. On the 27th day of the Trump shutdown, I cannot promise we'll be okay."

WATCH the mayor's news conference

Related: Resources for furloughed employees in greater NYC area

Beginning Thursday, many New York City food stamp recipients will see their February benefits released early rather than in the month of February. The release of March benefits is uncertain due to the federal shutdown.

Programs at risk include:

The fight against opioids - The city has trained more than 1,000 health care providers on prescribing buprenorphine to their patients suffering from opioid addiction. Some new prescribers have reported experiencing a delay in receiving approval from the DEA to prescribe buprenorphine since the shutdown started. If you are a provider or a patient in need of help, please call 311 or 1-888-NYC-WELL to find a buprenorphine prescriber near you.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps - City residents receive nearly $230 million in federal SNAP benefits per month. Nearly 1.6 million New Yorkers rely on this critical benefit to feed their families. The federal government has authorized release of February SNAP/food stamps benefits as early as today. People should plan accordingly, as this is not an additional benefit.

Section 8 - NYCHA and HPD respectively spend $97 million and $34 million in federal dollars per month for this program. More than 280,000 New Yorkers utilize Section 8 to pay their rent.

Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) - The city receives approximately $1 million in federal funding per month for this program. New York City relies on these funds to help fight homelessness.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) - City residents receives $26 million in federal funding for this program. More than 300,000 New Yorkers and their families rely on this program to put food on the table.

Continuum of Care - The city spends $5 million in federal dollars per month for this program. This program provides rental assistance for more than 4,000 homeless New Yorkers.

New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) - NYCHA spends $79 million per month for operating expenses such as salaries. Approximately 10,000 NYCHA employees will be affected by the government shutdown.

Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids (HOPWA) - The city receives more than $4 million in federal funding per month for this program. This is the only federal program dedicated to the housing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Thousands of New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS rely on these funds for housing and support services.

School Lunch - The city spends $43 million per month for this program. More than 1 million New York students rely on this program.

However, the city does have a number of resources to help those who may be experiencing hardships because of the shutdown. The website offers information on the latest developments and helps residents find a variety of city programs that provide relief, including food pantries, employment referrals, landlord mediation, eviction prevention, rental and mortgage arrears assistance, veterans' services and more.

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