More Institutions Stepping Up For Federal Workers During Shutdown

More banks across Connecticut are offering no-interest loans to provide short-term financial help to workers going without pay during the partial shutdown of the federal government.

On Thursday, the City of Danbury announced that Union Savings Bank would provide no-interest loans for up to 90 days as the shutdown persists.

“While Washington is broken, the City of Danbury works, we work to get from A to B and keep compassion alive and well here,” said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.

Union’s President and CEO Cynthia Merkle told reporters that because the shutdown hits Danbury directly, with more than 250 workers at the Federal Correctional Institution in the city working without pay, the bank felt a civic duty to provide some relief.

“We apologize that our fellow community individuals are living with this but hopefully we can make it a little bit better,” Merkle said.

The first loan program that was announced came at the beginning of the week when Gov. Ned Lamont appeared with Webster Bank CEO John Ciulla to announce that the bank would provide loans that would be backed by the full faith and credit of the State of Connecticut.

A spokesperson for Webster Bank said more information on the loans, and interest in the program, would be available Friday.

Elsewhere in Connecticut, the images of the shutdown on affected employees look like the fallout of a recession or depression.

TSA workers lined up to collect groceries during a Foodshare event in Windsor Locks. The event was quickly organized in the past few days to provide assistance for the 150 TSA workers at Bradley who are working without compensation.

“This is not a typical thing for Foodshare to do but we wanted to pull together in this time of need,” Miranda Muro from Foodshare said.

Sarah Small and Adrian Pellot have each worked at Bradley for the TSA for more than 11 years. They say the anxiety of the shutdown is picking up the longer it continues.

“Definitely, yes, because we have no other way of getting any money unless we literally get another job,” said Small.

Pellot, who has a supervisory role at the airport, says he keep checking his bank account to ensure he can cover critical payments and says the loan programs may become necessities if the shutdown continues for even more days and weeks.

“Even yesterday, I was thinking, I had a quarter of a tank of gas in my car, do I just fill up here in Connecticut?” he asked. “Massachusetts is a little bit cheaper, do I take the drive and go up to Mass and do that? I’m trying to think about little ways to cut costs here and there.”

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