More than 170,000 federal employers work in the Bay Area, 3,000 of them at Oakland’s Federal Building on Clay Street. As they left work Monday evening, many wondered when they would be back.
“Oh yeah, I'm scared. What are you going to do, you know?” said an employee of the Internal Revenue Service. Like every worker who talked to KTVU, she declined to provide her name, for fear her supervisor would disapprove.
“I have not been through a shutdown so it will be a new experience for me”, said a FEMA staffer, who seemed more curious than worried about the furlough.
Workers with families to support expressed concern to KTVU about how long the shutdown could last.
“I’m a single mother of three, so automatically, even a day missing work, is going to impact my entire family”, said an IRS worker, hurrying to catch her bus.
If the bustling federal building locks up, surrounding businesses will also feel the impact. Not only do the employees patronize the merchants, but the public spends money in the shops before and after their government business.
“This has been a good summer, relatively, increasing sales, we all talk about how it looks better, and then stuff like this happens. It's like, you never get ahead, “said Amanda Almonte, owner of City Bloom Flowers.
Some home shoppers will also face obstacles if the federal shutdown slows their loan approval process.
“There are times when they actually need to get on the phone and talk to somebody at FHA,” explains Jeff Wright, Owner/Broker at Wright Real Estate in El Cerrito.
First time, or moderate income home buyers need pre-approval to be competitive, but that often requires a federal loan guarantee from the FHA.
If workers are furloughed from the Federal Housing Administration, there may be no one to shepherd the paperwork through, and the prospective buyer could lose out.
“Sellers aren't going to wait for you to provide them with the approvals that you'll need,” added Wright.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.