As most folks know, we witnessed the longest U.S. government shutdown a few weeks ago. However, some may not understand the implications of the shutdown. This article was written to give some insight on what happens to the public sector during a government shutdown.
The three sectors: private, public, and government are separate groups of entities. However, they rely heavily on each other to run smoothly- especially the public sector and the government. As you will see, when a leader forces a government shutdown to last weeks, there are harsh implications. When the public sector is deprived of government funding, their only other option is funding from the general public or private organizations. This causes nonprofits to be put in financial straits. Furthermore, it causes civilians to be put in financial, physical, and emotional straits.
When the government shuts down many things occur. One example is the cutting of federal grants. This means that nonprofits entitled to receive funds may not get them. This is an issue, because nonprofits are heavily dependent on government funding. When government funding is cut, they must rely on funding from other means that typically are not sufficient. With funding already scarce before the shutdown, programs are further deprived from resources after their grant money is not available to them. This depravity leads to the failing or closing of many programs set to help communities and individuals.
Some programs also seek approval from certain government agencies. For example, the Department of Justice must overlook several matters of nonprofits. If nonprofits cannot get approval from certain government agencies, their work is halted. If they cannot do the work they are intended to do, then they cannot help the needs of the community surrounding them.
One of the biggest issues that spawns from a government shutdown is the closing of social services like SNAP benefits, which are controlled by the government. When benefits are not given to those in need, they seek assistance elsewhere. Nonprofits fill the gaps that government programs cannot. Thus, when government assistance programs shutdown that gap grows larger. This means nonprofit organizations have a greater burden to carry, despite their grants being cut. Another aspect that continues to further this gap is the need of government employees. Government shutdowns do not only hurt nonprofits, but they hurt their own employees too. Government employees do not get paid during shutdowns. This causes many government workers to seek help from nonprofits.
Although many people know about the government shutdown occurring, I hope this article gives a glimpse of how detrimental it can be to the public sector. Many nonprofits were affected. But most importantly, communities were affected. People were deprived of food benefits, housing programs, amongst other necessities, because of the shutdown. Consequently, it is dire we avoid shutdowns for the wellbeing of those around us.