CAC services would be hurt by government shutdown

By: Mario Boone Email
By: Mario Boone Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- "If the government shuts down it's going to mess up a lot of people," said Christina Lyons. She gives a voice to average East Tennesseans who stand to suffer if Washington lawmakers allow the federal government to shutdown.

"I was planning on putting my kid in headstart, but if they shut it down then I'm not going to be able to work because I'm going to be stuck at home with my kids," Lyons said. She depends on Knox County's Community Action Committee for child care and more.

"It's going to mess me up because I depend on this place to pay my light bill."

"I just don't think the government will shutdown on Friday," said Barbara Kelly, executive director of CAC.

But at CAC, where 77% of its financing comes from the feds, workers and clients are bracing for the worst. Kelly says a prolonged stoppage would jeopardize critical services. "Like Headstart, transportation, meals, emergency services, neighborhood service centers, and services for the elderly."

Kelly tells me she's hopeful Washington will solve the budget impasse before a shutdown is necessary. But if it doesn't, the agency has a priority list of services like dialysis and meals, which. "Would be the very last things that would be considered for any type of disruption," said Kelly.

"If we don't have this place to depend on, then we don't have nobody to help us with our kids," Lyons reminded me.

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