At Courtney’s House, a Washington, DC, center for young sex trafficking survivors, founder Tina Frundthas been seeing kids every day who are afraid of the government shutdown. They’re worried, she says, that it is affecting the many services they sorely need. She spoke of one 19-year-old she works with who is still in school and dealing with mental health issues. The young woman was recently able to get on food stamps and find temporary shelter while she waits on a list for federally assisted housing. But with the chaos in the Capitol, she has been panicked that the housing process will stop moving and food stamp funding will soon run out. She’s afraid she’ll fall through the cracks.
On the other side of the country in Los Angeles, the case workers at CAST, a direct services nonprofit for trafficking victims, have been dealing with similar fears. One woman, trafficked from another country, just got a special visa and a work permit. She was so excited to apply for a social security number, says Kay Buck, CEO of CAST, but she couldn’t because of the shutdown. At least for now, she can’t apply for jobs or health insurance since she doesn’t have the necessary identification.
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