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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WATE) – On the 19th day of the government's shutdown, and with negotiations still at an impasse, local non-profit organizations are considering the next step and what that could mean for the services they provide.
Organizations in Eastern Tennessee tell us that there are strangers, but it is clear that any problem that may arise will occur in a few months.
"People will definitely need us," said Elaine Streno, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank, in eastern Tennessee.
Streno says the organization is currently outlining strategies. The federal government plans to provide all the benefits for those who rely on SNAP, the country's food stamp program, for the entire month of February.
One of the strategies considered by Second Harvest is to buy more food.
"It takes about four weeks to get food here, we now have a lot of food to distribute to those who depend on us, but over the next few months we will have to increase our food supply so we can distribute it to the needy." . In March or April, that's when it will really hit us, "Streno said.
Streno says Second Harvest has just ended a successful fundraising campaign; however, if things last too long, they will have to rely on donations from the community: "It never touched us as much as it could be."
At the Knockville Community Development Corporation, or KCDC, their main source of funding is the HUD.
"The good news is that most HUD funding is actually in a few months, so when the government closes in December, it will not affect our funding immediately. in late February, "said Ben Ben Bentley, CEO of KCDC.
Bentley says that HUD programs can save money for times like this, but hope that the congress will come soon to a resolution because the Section 8 coupons program is funded annually and this program Is not allowed to put aside reservations.
"We received funding until the end of February, but at that point we would have to look at the structure of the program, the number of people rented, and whether to continue. additional funds, there could be challenges, "added Bentley.
We are told that KCDC is working with industry organizations at the national level to inform Congress of the challenges this closure creates.
"Starting in late January, we will begin to inform and ensure that our residents and program owners are informed, that they know what is happening," Bentley said.
KCDC says that there is no need for immediate alarm.
One of the suggested solutions that you might consider in response to the closure is to contact your congressman and keep them informed of the direct local consequences on your life and housing.
We also checked with United Way of Greater Knoxville if the organization had any concerns.
They tell us that they have talked to their partner agencies and that at present, the closure of the government does not have an immediate impact on resources.