New York says March 1 is shutdown D-Day

New-York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has sounded alarm bells about the fallout from the shutdown of the federal government, saying Gotham will be unable to provide benefits for its struggling citizens beyond March 1.

At a news conference, De Blasio called on US President Donald Trump to end the shutdown, now in its 27th day over funding a wall he promised to build on the US- Mexican border.

The city has thus far been able to dip into its coffers to stave off problems in paying out benefits like food stamps, de Blasio said and he cautioned people getting assistance cheques in February to try to stretch the funds.

By March 1, “there are no early benefit funds available,” said Steven Banks, a commissioner of New York City’s human resources and social services administration.

From that day forward, New York City will be operating with $500 million less per month to fund programs like the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, which funds food stamps. As a result, some 1.6 million low-income New York City citizens will be without benefits they normally count on, the city projects.

“March 1st is D-day for New Yorkers receiving food stamps,” Banks said.

According to the Mayor’s office, other programs at risk in addition to SNAP are social services in place to help those battling the opioid epidemic and Section 8 benefits that help subsidize low-income housing

More than half of Americans blame President Trump for the partial federal government shutdown, despite his repeatedly faulting Democratic lawmakers, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released this week.

The shutdown began on December 22 after Congress did not follow through on Trump’s request for $5.7 billion to help build a new barrier. Chances of funding the border wall became even more remote in January when Democrats, who are largely opposed to a wall, took control of the US House of Representatives.

Numerous federal agencies have partially closed or asked contractors to stop working. Coast Guard personnel are working without pay, the National Park Service has stopped collecting trash, and the Smithsonian museums have closed their doors to the public.