On behalf of the board of directors, staff, volunteers, partners, and participants of Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties (CAPRWC), I wish to express our collective appreciation to the state’s lawmakers as they pledge unity on plans to mitigate the detrimental effects of the federal government shutdown on Minnesota’s most vulnerable populations. This demonstration of bipartisan consensus stands in direct contrast to the political grandstanding and pointless squabbling currently taking place in Washington, D.C.
As a member of the largest poverty fighting network in the nation (National Community Action Partnership), CAPRWC provides direct services to more than 60,000 low-income citizens each year. Every day, we witness firsthand how devastating poverty is in the communities where we work.
Poverty, in and of itself, is a terrible thing, a tragic occurrence that ultimately diminishes all of us regardless of our lot in life. This shutdown only makes it worse. And, although we acknowledge the leadership that is taking place at our own state capitol, we can’t support what is going on in our nation’s Capitol.
I believe that only through the commitment of average citizens, staff at our state and local agencies, faith communities, non-profit organizations, and others will we assuage the continuous threat that this government shutdown poses to those who are already suffering.
To consider the financial impact alone is overwhelming for most of us. This particular episode, the third shutdown in 11 months has already cost the nation upwards of $4 billion. But all of us, as neighbors and compassionate citizens, MUST face the true human costs of this political impasse on the most vulnerable among us.
Not only are over 800,000 dedicated federal employees without a paycheck, but millions upon millions of low-income Americans whose food, shelter, and healthcare depend upon federal government monies and programs are at risk of losing essential support in the coming weeks.
Over 40 million people could soon be without food support benefits such as SNAP and TEFAP should the shutdown continue much longer. Children will go hungry. Farmers, here in Minnesota and elsewhere, are at risk of losing everything.
Let’s face it. There is nothing natural about this crisis. Plain and simple, this is a self-imposed disaster that is impacting too many of our fellow citizens; children, adults, and seniors alike are hurting. We must stand with them. Poverty is a terrible thing; the shutdown makes it intolerable.
This shutdown must be brought to an end.