Second Harvest Food Bank gives food to federal workers missing paychecks

More help is in the works for San Jose residents suffering from the lingering effects of the partial government shutdown. Wednesday afternoon, there was a long line at San Jose International Airport, but not for security screenings. The airport, in conjunction with Second Harvest Food Bank, operates a food distribution sight for federal employees who haven’t received a check for two pay periods.

“Now that we’re missing two paychecks, and now that new month is coming, it’s starting to hit home,” said furloughed TSA worker Caroyln Bauer.

While this line will help fill stomachs, it won’t calm all the nerves associated with the impending end-of-month bill cycle. San Jose’s city council is poised to meet in special session again January 24 to hear the mayor’s latest offer of assistance. 

“We are essentially prohibiting the eviction of tenants who depend on these federal programs, temporarily, until the shutdown concludes,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo – (D) San Jose.

Liccardo wants the council to pass an urgency ordinance, that will extend protections not only to airport workers, but city residents who depend on a federal paycheck or on federal housing subsidies to make ends meet. But the move will leave landlords on the hook for at least one month of rent, possibly more. So the mayor is trying to soften the financial blow he blames on Washington politics.

“We’re trying to delay and defer payment of taxes and fees if they have such a tenant,” said Liccardo.

In response to the proposal, the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors released a statement that reads in part, “It is important in these urgent circumstances for landlords to remain flexile while also ensuring that they can recover the rent they are temporarily giving up. This is not about partisanship…”

As local politicians move to action, workers worried about what they’ll eat and where they’ll sleep see the mayor’s moves as a small measure of relief. 

“Once again, Mayor Liccardo is stepping up for employees in his community,” said Bauer

The mayor’s urgency ordinance, if approved 2:30 p.m. Thursday during a special session, would take effect immediately. The low interest loan program the city started researching last week is also set to start functioning January 24.