Needy AZ families feeling impact of gov't shutdown - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Needy AZ families feeling impact of gov't shutdown

(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)

It didn't take long for the federal government shutdown to have an impact on some of Arizona's most vulnerable people.

Starting Thursday, thousands of low-income families will not be getting their monthly welfare checks.

LeeAnn Pelkey is a single mom on disability who depends on federal assistance to support her kids and pay the rent.

The Mesa mom said that the last thing she needs is for something to happen to her welfare check - which is a very real possibility with the federal government shutdown.

"Nobody wants to be homeless," said Pelkey. "I have two children. That's my worst fear, not having a roof over my head."

According to state officials, around 5,200 needy Arizona families will not be getting their federal assistance checks.

And if the government shutdown drags on, thousands more could suffer.

It's money used for basic need, everything from food to groceries to utility bills.

Cynthia Zwick is executive director of the Arizona Community Action Association, a nonprofit group devoted to helping low-income families across the state.

Zwick told CBS 5 News that a number of federal assistance programs will be able to keep funding for a few weeks, but after that, a lot of families will have nowhere else to turn.

"All the federal discretionary funding is in jeopardy right now," Zwick said. "It's families who rely on support for a temporary period of time. Most of them are working, most have children, so it's really an ability to pay rent, utilities and feed their families."

The federal shutdown could also impact the state's child protective services, because a lot of federal funding is used to pay caseworkers salaries, Zwick said.

Funding for WIC, a program to help women, infants and children will run out at the end of the month.

The longer the shutdown lasts, the more people it will impact, Zwick said.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved

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