Stann Kaplan is washing dishes at home instead of looking for fraud in public housing. He's out of work and not spending money to fix his dishwasher until the partial government shutdown ends.
"Luckily, my wife is working," the enforcement analyst said. "We have a daughter, so if maybe if I was single, it would be a little easier, but a little stressed out."
Stressed out and a bit bored now that he's been furloughed from his job with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Queens resident normally hunts for waste and theft in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and other HUD-insured housing developments, with nearly a dozen other federal CPAs in the city, who also furloughed.
"The people who are receiving HUD funds are essentially able to kind of get away with more things, they're not being monitored right now," Kaplan said.
His office has about 300 people, most of them furloughed, too. They would be processing applications for federal funding to house homeless people, and those with special needs.
As for NYCHA, it is not in any immediate jeopardy. It has enough HUD funding to maintain operations through February.
"The longer this shutdown goes on, the more dire the situation becomes. We need HUD back up and running — New Yorkers are counting on them," said a spokesperson for the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).
A spokesperson for the New York City Department of Social Services, which manages the cases for New Yorkers who receive food stamps, said the shutdown hasn't impacted January benefits but could soon result in New Yorkers not getting their benefits.
"If this shutdown continues for much longer, New Yorkers in need could experience serious benefits interruptions or delays. Our social safety net isn't a month-to-month lease — it's a permanent contract. The Trump Administration should stop playing politics with people's lives and reopen the government today to ensure our neighbors get the certainty and services they deserve," Isaac McGinn said in the statement.
Kaplan, meanwhile, applied for unemployment and is getting ready to dip into his retirement savings.
"I don't even care how they resolve it. I just want it to end. I don't care who the winning side is, who the press declares is the winner. I just want this to end, I'd like to go back to work," Kaplan said.
Kaplan said it could be a month until he catches up with the audits that are piling up. Providers said it will take at least a couple weeks for HUD to ramp back up to full speed whenever the shutdown ends — a timeframe that could put payments to them at risk.
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