As the longest shutdown in U.S. history continues, furloughed and government workers wonder can they be evicted? Can their lights be disconnected? Will their water service be shut off? Unfortunately, all these things can legally occur. But don’t fret, legislation is being introduced to protect said workers from the legal consequences of being unpaid. Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson submitted a Bill which would provide federal employees and their families with protections from foreclosures, evictions, repossessions and credit defaults during a federal government shutdown. This legislation will prohibit landlords and creditors from taking action against federal workers or contractors who are hurt by the government shutdown and unable to pay rent or repay loans. The Bill would also empower federal workers to sue creditors or landlords that violate this protection against landlords, utility companies and creditors during a government shutdown. Prayerfully the shutdown will end before voting takes place.
In the meantime, many nonprofits and businesses have stepped up to help affected workers.
** Workers can apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, (SNAP), which is a government assistance program. You can apply online at dwss.nv.org or call 800-992-0900.
** Federal employees can grab a free meal and nonalcoholic drink at Beer Park Las Vegas in Paris Las Vegas, 3655 Las Vegas Blvd. South during the shutdown. The Beer Park is open 11 a.m. to midnight Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and 9 a.m. to midnight Sunday.
** Romano’s Macaroni Grill is offering federal employees a free plate of Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs with spaghetti for as long as the shutdown lasts. Employees can get the dish for free by showing a valid federal ID.
** Federal workers can get a sweet treat from the Milk Bar at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. South. The dessert and coffee bar is offering a free coffee or Cereal Milk soft-serve ice cream to federal employees.
** Federal employees can collect food or get meals from food banks across the valley. Pantry program and community meal locations, as well as distribution days and times, can be found on Three Square’s website. Locations distribute food at various times and are open on differen days of the week.
** Street Dogz, a nonprofit that distributes food for homeless pets, will give cat or dog food to any furloughed government employee with a federal ID. Distribution sites and times are listed on the group’s Facebook page.
** Federal employees can ride Regional Transportation Commission buses for free by showing their federal ID to the bus driver. The free rides will last as long as the government is shut down.
** Wells Fargo will automatically reverse federal employees’ monthly service and late fees on deposit accounts, waive late fees on credit accounts and will not apply late charges for mortgage and home equity customers for up to 90 days.
** NV Energy will protect furloughed workers’ accounts during the shutdown by waiving late fees and other penalties. When the shutdown is over, workers will have time to pay the outstanding balance. Workers affected by the shutdown can call NV Energy for more details at 702-790-7777.
** The city of Henderson is deferring water and sewer bill payments for furloughed federal employees who can present a furlough letter or pay stub showing they work for the government. Federal workers can submit a request online at Contact Henderson or by calling the Department of Utility Services at 702-267-5900. Henderson residents also can defer payments at the city’s recreation centers by showing their federal ID or calling 702-267-4000.
** North Las Vegas is also deferring utility payments, allowing federal workers to pay what they can during the shutdown and then pay off the balance interest-free after the government reopens. Workers can contact the North Las Vegas utility department at 702-633-1484.