Leaders with the United Way of the Lewis and Clark Area say they’re beginning to see some effects from the ongoing federal government shutdown.
“We know that we have federal employees here locally, and the shutdown is really concerning,” said Dana Friede, UWLCA’s director of development and marketing.
Friede said some of the programs they offer can’t go forward right now. For example, UWLCA helps distribute about $17,000 in federal grants to local groups that provide emergency food and shelter, but that distribution can’t be completed until the government gives its approval. The organization is also a site where people can video chat with IRS representatives to address any federal tax questions, but that program is also currently unavailable.
“Those are important resources in our community that are not able to actually be distributed or utilized, and that’s causing problems,” said Friede.
Friede said the United Way is also interested in making sure federal employees who aren’t currently being paid are getting any support they need. They have put together a comprehensive list of local resources and they encourage employees or their families to call if they want to know what’s available.
“Our federal employees work really hard to keep our country going, day in and day out, and this shutdown is a very unfortunate thing,” Friede said. “But we as nonprofits in the community are very, very glad to be able to be here and provide the support they need to get through, because they are so good to the rest of us throughout the year.”
UWLCA can provide referrals to any support resource over the phone at (406) 442-4360. The information is also available on the UWCLA website (https://unitedwaylca.org/need-help/).
You can also get information on available resources through the Montana 211 portal either online or by dialing 211 on your phone. But Friede said they are currently updating the listings for the Helena area, so you may want to check with UWLCA if you have any questions.
-Reported by Jonathon Ambarian/MTN News