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Oct 2, 2013 11:38 PM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

Shutdown impacts starting to be felt in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is the city most impacted by the government shutdown according to report by the Washington Post released on Wednesday.

With 55,000 federal workers making up 18.8% of the workforce in Colorado Springs, the report stated that the city's economy is heavily dependent on the federal government. But, it's not just current workers affected.

Like millions of families across the country, Dana and Matt Goldsmith are hoping and praying for a swift end to the government shutdown. Matt Goldsmith was medically-retired from the Army a few years ago.

"Right now our income is based solely around my disability," Matt Goldsmith explained.

Goldsmith and his family depend on money from Veterans Affairs, social security and the G.I. Bill while he and Dana go to school full time. With the shutdown they're facing the possibility of delays in all those payments and they've got bills and rent to pay. They said they'll be fine if the shutdown only lasts a few days, but as gridlock continues they're getting worried.

"We have family in town and I have some, you know, toys and kids things that I can probably sell to make some money and pull together a little bit here and there," Dana Goldsmith said.

With talks between the two parties in Washington appearing to go nowhere many in Colorado Springs are facing similar dilemmas.

"It's just the unknown is what people are worried about," explained Terence Jackson with the Pikes Peak Workforce Center.

Jackson told News 5 that, despite the shutdown only having lasted a couple of days, many furloughed workers and others have started coming to the workforce center asking for help getting unemployment assistance or temporary jobs.

"Got a little busy today, we must've seen 60 people between 10 and 2 o'clock this afternoon coming in for the first time filing a claim," he described.

Officials at Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado are monitoring the situation as well. Though they haven't seen a rush of furloughed workers asking for help feeding their families they're preparing for that possibility.

"We certainly realize that if this situation is more of a longterm issue that that may affect more and more families and more and more deeply as the time goes on," explained Shannon Coker, a spokesperson for Care and Share.

As the gridlock continues in Washington those with the most to lose are left to wonder how long the shutdown will last.

"You hate to say that you depend so heavily on the government, but we're in a position where they offered us the opportunity to be able to ...to lean on them and when we trusted them obviously we were wrong," said Dana Goldsmith.

 

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