Several Washington area charities are furloughing employees, scaling back services and in some cases preparing for employee layoffs as the government shut drags on.
The Latin American Youth Center announced this week that it has furloughed more than half of its staff and reduced its programming to essential services. The furloughed staff, which includes senior leaders, will continue to work as volunteers until the shutdown ends and funding continues.
“I’m so depressed. It’s so sad,” said Lori Kaplan, president of the Latin American Youth Center. “The center means so much to so many people, and this is hard on a lot of people.”
The Columbia Heights nonprofit, which offers youth development services to 5,000 kids each year, will stop some programs that help with job training and education. It is also in the process of piloting a new program that offers mentors who are available around the clock for troubled youth. Kaplan said the mentors will now be part time. Services to its homeless and foster care youth will remain in operation.
Mary’s Center, a federally funded health facility in the District says it is struggling to make October payroll and to continue its services to more than 30,000 local patients. The charity which has yet to receive a $585,000 from the District’s Department of Health due on Oct. 1 for last month’s services. Those funds are now on hold until the shutdown ends.
Public funding is nearly 70 percent of the health center’s budget. The group is projecting a loss in October of more than $500,000 and preparing to furlough its staff if the shutdown continues through the month.
Maria Gomez, chief executive of Mary’s Center, spoke at a news conference with Mayor Vincent Gray and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton Wednesday morning at the Capitol highlighting the effects of the federal shutdown. Other nonprofit leaders who expressed detrimental impacts included Seabury Resources for the Aging, St. John’s Community, Friendship Public Charter School and Fairfax Fire & Rescue Department.
A host of other charities are also speaking out about the devastating impact of the shutdown on their services. Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington and a host of charities are lobbying Capitol Hill this week urging Congress to come to a budget solution.
“This shutdown is senseless,” wrote Diana Leon-Taylor, president and chief executive of the Nonprofit Roundtable, in an email. “It is not simply furloughing government staff, but devastating our business and nonprofit sector.”
Volunteers of America Chesapeake expects to lose $1.2 million and furlough 160 employees if the shutdown hasn’t ended in 30 days.
DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence is a 12-member agency that gets 60 to 90 percent of their budget from government funds. The groups says that in addition to increased requests for assistance such as food and transportation assistance, if the shutdown continues past this week, programs will reduce, and employees will not be paid.
“During the recession banks were being bailed out…but the nonprofit sector hasn’t gotten any help,” said Kaplan.