Residents seeking federal services let down

Locals turned away at door of federal building because of gov't shutdown

By Alicia Booth - Reporter/anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The government shutdown has already had an impact locally, not just on federal workers who have been furloughed, but also on the people who need certain federal services and can't get them.

One after another Wednesday, people walked up the steps of the federal building in downtown Jacksonville only to turn around and walk right back down. Many were disappointed and annoyed.

Sarah McGaffee and her sister Aimee learned they are going to have to defer their college education another semester because they won't be able to get their federal student aid forms done on time.

"I think the government needs to get off their high horse and make some adjustments and compromise," McGaffee said. "It's something we're taught as little kids to compromise, and they're not."

Cecelia Jennings was trying to do her civic duty by walking there to make a tax payment, only to find the shutdown was going to affect her directly.

"Well, now it's a little more real," she said. "I actually did not think people were actually not at work. You know, I didn't think it had reached that point yet, and I was very surprised."

The IRS, Department of Labor, and Department of Housing and Urban Development are all closed, with the few people collecting a paycheck not accessible.

There were just a handful of IRS employees working Wednesday. One of them said Tuesday was a rough day. She said as everyone was packing up their stuff to leave, there was a real mixture of emotions, mostly sadness and anger.

Over at the Social Security Administration, there was a lot of activity, with crucial services like applying for benefits or getting a critical payment still readily available.

But just next door, the card center will stay closed up tight. And that is very bad news for LeBraun Crawford, who just got out of prison Tuesday, optimistic to start his new life, only to have it put on hold indefinitely. He needs a Social Security card.

"I really can't get anything done," Crawford said. "I can't get any type of assistance as far as housing, trying to find a job, anything."

He, like many of the people affected by the shutdown locally, is frustrated with the political stalemate.

"There are people out here who are trying to make a living," Crawford said. "There are people out here who are trying to get on with their lives, and by them shutting down the government, you're making it harder for the people."

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