Several Western Washington cities are offering utility assistance for government employees furloughed or working without pay during the partial shutdown.
Kent announced Tuesday it will waive late fees on water, sewer, and drainage bills for residents impacted by the shutdown. They will also suspend service interruptions for non-payment.
Renton announced Friday it would also suspend late fees and service interruptions for federal workers.
Seattle workers will soon be able to defer utility payments after Mayor Jenny Durkan signed an Executive Order to assist impacted employees on Tuesday, the 32nd day of the shutdown.
The order calls on Seattle City Light, Seattle Public Utilities, the City Budget Office, and the Human Services Department to develop a deferral plan by Friday. Durkan's order states a phone number will be established for impacted employees to call the city for eligibility assistance.
"Every day that the crisis of the government shutdown continues, public servants in Seattle are forced to live without knowing if they can provide for their families – and Seattle is put at risk by the lack of federal services that we rely on, from earthquake monitoring to the Coast Guard to affordable housing support,” Mayor Durkan said in a statement.
There are an estimated 11,000 federal employees in Washington state not getting paid while the shutdown continues.
Several organizations, including the Port of Seattle, have established donation collections for their employees working without pay.
Roughly 2,000 federal workers at Sea-Tac Airport alone are either furloughed or working without pay during the shutdown. Some are turning to food stamps.
The government shutdown is the longest in history.