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Unpaid Federal workers scramble for income

Temp jobs and Airbnb
2019-01-16 Shutdown workers-Air BNB.jpg
Posted at 7:10 PM, Jan 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-16 21:55:04-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - As the shutdown runs on, some Federal workers are stretching for ways to pay for their lives without paychecks coming in.

OnAirbnb, there's a comfortable room for rent in a nice house in midtown Tucson.

It's Cheryl Blum's house.

"Were it not for those bookings and were it not for the guests I've had in the last couple of weeks. I don't know what I would have done."

The Federal shutdown, shut out Cheryl Blum's paychecks. She's an attorney who does immigration work under contract for the Federal Public Defenders Office.

She's a single mom, with one child in high school and two more in college. She offered a room on Airbnb before the shutdown but now it's an essential part of her income.

She's still working, still serving clients, still running up expenses, still waiting for a paycheck.

"So I don't think I could go on much longer. I do not have the ability to meet the big expenses, which are health insurance and mortgage that are coming up in February with what I have now so we'll see what happens."

To depend less on Federal contracts she's planning to do more family and personal injury law.

Other Federal workers are looking at temp work to cover their expenses. At Remedy Intelligent Staffing Joy Deehan says four Federal workers inquired about temp jobs Wednesday morning alone.

She says, "A lot of the time the conversations we have is just listening and being there sounding board because they're really frustrated. They don't know what to do. There's nothing they can do, they still need to survive."

Deehan says the Federal workers have strong job skills and good work ethics but even temp employers are afraid to hire someone who will leave as soon as their Federal job resumes.

At the Tucson School District, Superintendent Gabriel Trujillo says Federal workers who like kids and have a Bachelor's degree could make good substitute teachers but they will have to meet state standards for background checks and that may take a couple of weeks.