Look­ing for ways to make ends meet

Fur­loughed fed­eral work­ers turn to GoFundMe cam­paigns, loans and more

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - BUSINESS - Michelle Sin­gle­tary

WASH­ING­TON >> On his way to Camp David last Sun­day, Pres­i­dent Trump was ques­tioned about the fi­nan­cial strain the par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down has put on work­ers.

“Mr. Pres­i­dent, do you re­late to the pain of fed­eral work­ers who can’t pay their bills?” a re­porter asked.

“I can re­late,” Trump said. “And I’m sure that the peo­ple that are on the re­ceiv­ing end will make ad­just­ments. They al­ways do. And they’ll make ad­just­ments.”

How can Trump, a self-pro­claimed bil­lion­aire liv­ing rent­free in the White House, re­late to the plight of peo­ple liv­ing pay­check to pay­check? It was a tone-deaf re­sponse about the fi­nan­cial strug­gles many work­ers are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing and the anx­i­ety of those fed­eral em­ploy­ees who will miss their first pay­checks start­ing this week. Many peo­ple who work for gov­ern­ment con­trac­tors have al­ready lost pay, and un­like fed­eral em­ploy­ees, they won’t all be made whole.

But Trump is right. Peo­ple are mak­ing “ad­just­ments.” Here are some of their meth­ods of mak­ing ends meet:

Work­ers are so­lic­it­ing money from strangers to help them pay their bills. Since the shut­down, $50,000 has been raised through 700 GoFundMe cam­paigns, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s spokesper­son, Bobby Whithorne.

“Be­ing a con­tracted gov­ern­ment worker, I’m los­ing pay ev­ery day that this gov­ern­ment shut­down con­tin­ues,” wrote Julie Burr in one of the more suc­cess­ful crowd­fund­ing ap­peals.

As of Jan. 8, Burr — who said her hus­band passed away last year from a heart at­tack — has raised nearly $9,700. Her goal was $5,000.

Many gov­ern­ment shut­down ap­peals haven’t raised any money, while oth­ers have gar­nered a few hun­dred dol­lars so far. If you’re wor­ried about fraud, Whithorne said GoFundMe’s Trust & Safety divi­sion is re­view­ing all cam­paigns re­lated to the gov­ern­ment shut­down.

“We have a team of ex­perts mon­i­tor­ing the plat­form, and we de­ploy mul­ti­ple tech­ni­cal tools to ver­ify fundrais­ers,” he said.

GoFundMe al­ready dis­cov­ered some­one falsely claim­ing that he was af­fected by the shut­down.

“We placed the cam­paign’s funds on hold, and we re­quired the cam­paign or­ga­nizer to post an up­date stat­ing he was not


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