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Federal Workers Take Second Jobs to Make Ends Meet During Shutdown

Inside Edition logo Inside Edition 5 days ago Inside Edition Staff
Workers have turned to bartending and Uber driving. © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Workers have turned to bartending and Uber driving.

Some federal workers are tightening their belts as life without a paycheck becomes a grim reality.

“In my freezer, as you can see, I have no meat here,” Belkys Colon, who works for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban and Development, told Inside Edition. “I have pasta but they expired."

The partial government shutdown began three weeks ago when President Trump demanded more than $5 billion to finance his border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and Democrats refused to agree.

Around 800,000 federal employees across the United States have been working without pay since Dec. 21 and won’t be compensated until the shutdown ends. 

It leaves workers like Colon, from New York, wondering how they're going to make ends meet. 

“I'm just sad because maybe I’m gonna get thrown out of my apartment because I haven't paid my rent,” she said. "I don't know what to do."

As Inside Edition spoke to her, a robocall came in about an overdue medical bill. Colon says she has not been paid since Christmas and wants to go back to work. 

Another federal worker in Washington, D.C. is making money as a bartender. 

"It was really tough this morning when I couldn’t go next door to buy a cup of coffee because I didn’t have the money in my account," Amelia Shister told Inside Edition. 

Federal Corrections Officer Aaron McGlothin is making ends meet as an Uber driver.

“A lot of staff live paycheck to paycheck, like myself, we're trying to seek secondary employment to find a way to pay our bills,” McGlothin told Inside Edition.

The Coast Guard came under fire after issuing a tip sheet for its staff. Among the suggestions were to make money with a garage sale, putting “larger-ticket items” on the market, and tutoring students. 

That tip sheet has now been pulled from the Coast Guard's website following backlash. 

Craigslist also features many ads allegedly from out-of-work federal employees.

Restaurants across the country are offering free food to furloughed federal employees. Some eateries are offering “shut down specials,” including Java Joe’s Café in Michigan are offering free breakfast and lunch to furloughed federal workers.

The shutdown, which has lasted 21 days including Jan. 11, is now tied for the longest ever.

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