Community members facing effects of government shutdown express concerns at town hall meeting


COLUMBUS, Ohio — As the partial Government shutdown continues, local community leaders hosted a town hall to give families at risk of losing federal benefits a chance to express their concerns.

It was standing room only at the Community Development for All People center on the city’s south side. One by one, specialists who help neighbors navigate federal assistance programs such as SNAP and Section 8 broke down what a continued shutdown could mean for clients.

“It is immoral to take food from hungry mothers and their children over this debate,” said Nick Bates, Director of the Hunger Network of Ohio.

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One government agency has already alerted recipients that SNAP benefits will be disrupted, with payments for February going onto Ohio direction cards Wednesday.

Community members also expressed what is at risk with an ongoing shutdown.

“We’re suffering, the children are suffering, the people who have diabetes and heart troubles are suffering,” Michelle Hilyard told the crowd. “It's heartbreaking because these children are who are going to suffer.”

Representatives from the offices of U.S. Senator Sherrod brown and Congresswoman Joyce Beatty attended the event.