Washington, D.C. shutdown resources

- Here is a list of resources for residents of Washington, D.C. affected by the partial government shutdown.

Mental Health

Mental Health Treatment Resources

Adults who need behavioral health services and supports can choose from a number of community based private providers located in neighborhoods throughout the District. You can contact the provider of your choice directly or you can call the ACCESS Helpline at 1-888-793-4357 and talk with a behavioral health professional who will guide you through the process.

Services include diagnostic/assessment services, counseling, medication, intensive day treatment and crisis/emergency services. Individualized behavioral health services are supported by rehabilitation programs, peer supports, supportive employment opportunities, housing assistance and a range of community housing alternatives to facility-based care.

Same Day Urgent Care

You can walk into a clinic located at 35 K Street N and be seen the same day without an appointment from 8:30 am to 3 pm. Services include assessment, counseling, psychiatric evaluation and medication management. You may be referred to a community provider for ongoing care. If you have questions, please call (202) 442-4202.

For more information, visit dbh.dc.gov/service/adult-services.

Food Assistance

Five Day Supply of Groceries Offered by the Nonprofit Bread for the City

Beginning Monday, January 14, if you are a District of Columbia resident and are a furloughed federal worker or federal contractor currently out of work because of the furlough, you can visit Bread for the City’s NW or SE Centers for a five-day supply of groceries.

Bread for the City is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services to reduce the burden of poverty.

For more information, visit breadforthecity.org/blog/opening-our-doors-to-furloughed-federal-employees-and-contractors.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the new federal name for the traditional food assistance program, also known as the Food Stamp program. Families in need utilize an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that can be used like a debit card, to buy groceries at specified stores that accept EBT. Individuals (even if you are working), families, seniors, persons experiencing homelessness, persons with a disability, many legal immigrants, and citizen children of undocumented immigrants can all receive SNAP/Food Stamps if the eligibility requirements are met. Household size and income determine eligibility. More information about how to apply is available here: https://dhs.dc.gov/service/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-snap


The DC Office on Aging operates 46 community dining sites in all eight wards of the city, serving daily lunch Monday through Friday, for residents 60 years of age and older. Contact the lead agency in your ward for more information by visiting dcoa.dc.gov/service/senior-service-network-lead-agencies.

Free Food Safety Certified Lunches at Recreation Centers

The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is working with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to offer free lunch to kids 18 years old or younger at every recreation center that is equipped and staffed appropriately for providing free Food Safety Certified lunches. Eight recreation centers total across five wards will offer free lunch every Saturday during the shutdown from 12 pm – 1 pm.

Joe Cole – Ward 5
Harry Thomas – Ward 5
King Greenleaf  – Ward 6
Rita Bright  – Ward 1
Hillcrest – Ward 7
Benning Park – Ward 7
Benning Stoddert – Ward 7
Emery – Ward 4

School Meals

Families who may be impacted by the government shutdown may apply for Free and Reduced Price Meals. For more info visit dcps.dc.gov/farm

USDA announced that funding to support Child Nutrition Programs will be available into March, should the shutdown of the federal government continue. This means that claims for reimbursement for the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Special Milk Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program are guaranteed to be paid into March. Local Education Agencies are encouraged to reach out to families who may be impacted by the government shutdown to offer them a Free and Reduced Price Meal application.


If you are a federal government employee who was furloughed on December 22, 2018, and wish to file an initial claim for UI benefits, you may file over the phone by calling the Customer Navigation Center at (202) 478-5937Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm or online at www.dcnetworks.org. Our American Job Center Headquarters location will be open from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm for computer access in order to file a claim online, to answer any UI inquiries, and for you to provide your required wage documentation. Please note, if you receive retroactive pay from your employer, you will be required to repay all UI benefits received when the retroactive pay is awarded. If your last duty station was not in the District of Columbia, please use the following link to access the appropriate State Workforce Agency to file your claim: www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp.

View full information on applying for unemployment at does.dc.gov/page/ui-benefits-claimants.

Workforce on Wheels

The Workforce on Wheels (WOW) team is a cutting-edge mobile service operation developed by the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) to address the needs of District's youth and residents in the communities where they live. Commissioned to serve constituents in underserved communities, the WOW team and mobile unit allows DOES to bring American Job Center (AJC) resources and services to neighborhoods where access is often limited. WOW features workforce programming and employer services, providing opportunities for District residents to prepare for employment opportunities and businesses to connect with qualified applicants.

DOES Workforce on Wheels (WOW) location and schedule during shutdown:

  • January 14, 2019: Anacostia Metro Station, 2400 Block of Shannon Place SE, 10 am – 2 pm (Ward 8)
  • January 15, 2019: Brookland Manor Apartments Community Center (Parking Lot), 2525 14th Street NE, 11 am – 2 pm (Ward 5)
  • January 16, 2019: Cedar Height Community Center, 1510 Butler Street SE, 1 pm – 4 pm (Ward 8)
  • January 17, 2019: KRA Corp, 3847 Alabama Ave, 10 am – 2 pm, (Ward 8)
  • January 18, 2019: Deanwood Metro Station, 4720 Minnesota Ave NE, 10 am – 2 pm (Ward 7)

Utilities Assistance


Pepco reminds customers of important energy assistance available in the District of Columbia and Maryland to help meet their energy needs. With hundreds of thousands of people impacted by the ongoing federal government shutdown, Pepco is taking steps to expand awareness of the programs in place to help customers stay energized through temporary or extended financial hardship.

Pepco works closely with state, federal, and nonprofit partners to ensure they have the information and support they need to help customers manage their energy expenses during times of hardship.

  • LIHEAP, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. LIHEAP provides grants in varying amounts based on a household’s income size, type of fuel, and type of dwelling, with no pay back required. District residents can apply for assistance online though the Department of Energy and the Environment website or by calling 311. Maryland customers can apply for LIHEAP energy assistance through the Department of Human Services website, by visiting a Local Energy Assistance Office, or by calling the Maryland Department of Human Services Office of Home Energy Programs at 1-800-332-6347.
  • The Utility Discount Program (UDP) assists low-income District residents reduce their utility costs. Eligible customers may receive a discount of up to $475 per year on their electric bill ($300 per year if non-electric heat). District residents can visit the Department of Energy and the Environment website at doee.dc.gov to apply online or calling 3-1-1 to schedule an in-person appointment.
  • The Greater Washington Urban League provides up to $500 in assistance to eligible customers facing disconnection. Customers can call 202-265-8200 or visit www.gwul.org.
  • The Electric Universal Service Program (EUSP) helps eligible customers pay for a portion of their current electric bill. The Arrearage Retirement Assistance (ARA) program helps customers with large, past due electric and gas bills. If eligible, customers may receive forgiveness of up to $2,000 towards their past due bill. The Utility Service Protection Program (USPP) is designed to help low-income families during the heating season. Information regarding these programs can be found on the Maryland Department of Human Services Office of Home Energy Programs website or by calling 1-800-332-6347.
  • Pepco customers with a disconnection notice or who currently have service disconnected can receive a grant up to $1,000 once a year through the Pepco Washington Area Fuel Fund Partnership administered by the Salvation Army. Customers in the District of Columbia (wards 1-6) call 202-332-5000 or (wards 7-8) call (202) 678-9771. Prince George’s County residents can call (301) 277-6103 and Montgomery County residents can call (301) 515-5354 for assistance.
  • Through Pepco’s Gift of Energy program, anyone can make a payment towards a friend or family member’s energy bill. The gift will appear on a future bill as a credit to the recipient's account.

Washington Gas

“We recognize that federal government employees may be in a challenging financial position as the shutdown continues,” said Adrian Chapman, President and CEO of Washington Gas and WGL. “ As the shutdown of the Federal Government continues, Washington Gas announced Tuesday, January 8, 2019 that it will offer:

  • flexible payment arrangements for government employees directly impacted.
  • work with affected employees so that they continue to receive their natural gas service without interruption.”
  • several payment plans and services available to customers who may have difficulty paying their bills. Customers should contact Washington Gas customer service representatives at 1-844-WASHGAS to discuss their individual situations.

Plans to assist customers include:

  • The Washington Gas Budget Plan: This plan allows eligible customers to spread the cost of winter heating over the entire year. It helps to minimize the impact of typically higher seasonal bills and provides greater flexibility in managing a household budget. The Budget Plan is designed as a 12-month program, and we encourage customers to stay on it year-round to realize the potential benefits.
  • Payment Deferments: Washington Gas will work with all eligible customers who cannot pay the “past due bill amount” as well as the “current charges” on their gas bill, by offering deferred payment arrangements upon request by the customer. Washington Gas will comply with all applicable laws, tariff regulations and orders of its regulators when extending payment deferments to customers who show a willingness to pay past due amounts. The deferred payment agreement Washington Gas may enter into with its customers prevents further credit action on the account, including the assessment of late charges, mailed reminder and/or turn off notices, and collection calls, as long as the customer abides by the agreement.http://www.waffhelp.org
  • The Washington Area Fuel Fund (WAFF): Founded by Washington Gas and administered by The Salvation Army, WAFF helps families who do not qualify for, or who have exhausted, government energy assistance. WAFF provides funds for all types of fuel to heat families' homes during the winter heating season. Through its merger with AltaGas, Washington Gas has increased its funding to WAFF and broadened WAFF’s eligibility beyond low-income customers. For example, a family of four earning $75,050 could qualify for assistance. WAFF also accepts donations to assist neighbors in need. Every dollar donated to WAFF goes directly to those who need assistance because Washington Gas pays the administrative fees of the fund. For more information or to apply for assistance, contact The Salvation Army at 888-318-WAFF (9233) or visit www.waffhelp.org. Donations can also be made at this website.

DC Water

DC Water announced a plan to immediately begin working with any federal worker who may need additional flexibility in paying their bill because of the government shutdown.

“We stand ready to work with any customer. They are unintended victims in this situation and we are gladly willing to provide anyone affected by the shutdown with a payment plan or other options for paying their bill,” said David L. Gadis, Chief Executive Officer of DC Water.

Gadis reminded customers that DC Water already has multiple programs to assist customers who are struggling with their bills, including:

  • Extended payment plans. Call 202-354-3600 to and work with customer assistance team.
  • SPLASH (Serving People by Lending A Supporting Hand) SPLASH is a DC Water program that helps customers maintain critical water and sewer service in times of financial emergencies.
  • DOEE Customer Assistance Program. This new program launched on January 1 and builds on the longtime Customer Assistance Program offered by DC Water for any customer in need. This and the newer versions of the program are administered by the city’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE).

Impacted federal workers can learn more about options by calling customer service at (202) 354-3600. More details on customer assistance options can be found at www.dcwater.com/customer-assistance.

Mortgages, Loans, Credit

Residents impacted by the federal government shutdown should immediately contact their mortgage lender, credit card company, student loan servicer or insurance company and explain that they are impacted by the federal government shutdown. Many lenders will waive late fees and other penalties. In addition, some banks and credit unions are offering low or no interest rate loans to help people who need immediate cash. Residents are strongly advised to avoid payday lenders, as these lenders charge excessive interest and fees.

Resources:Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking

Student Loans

Dr. Charles A. Burt, Student Loan Ombudsman
1050 First Street, NE, Suite 801
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 727-8000

General Complaints

Sharon Shipp, Director
Compliance Analysis Division
1050 First Street, NE, Suite 801
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 727-8000

Additional Student Loan Resources

US Department of Education Federsl Student Aid Information Center
Student Loan Support Center
(877) 557-7394
(800) 4FED-AID


Housing Counseling Services
2410 17th Street, NW, Suite 100
Adams Alley Entrance
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 667-7006

Temporary Cash and Emergency Rental Assistance

Temporary Cash Assistance Program

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program provides cash benefits to needy families with dependent children. To see if you qualify and apply, visit dhs.dc.gov/service/whats-new-tan

Emergency Rental Assistance

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) helps income eligible District residents facing housing emergencies. The program provides funding for overdue rent if a qualified household is facing eviction (including late costs and court fees). The program also supports security deposits and first month’s rent for residents moving to new apartments. ERAP serves income eligible District households with children, elderly households and people with disabilities. The amount paid on behalf of eligible families depends on a household’s income and available resources and is subject to certain limitations. To learn more, visit dhs.dc.gov/node/117692.

Health Insurance and Health Care Resources

Health Insurance Open Enrollment (Until January 31, 2019)

The primary goal of DC Health Link Storefront Enrollment Centers is to provide a comfortable and convenient environment to help consumers shop, compare and enroll in affordable health insurance. In-person enrollment support with certified and trained Assisters and licensed health insurance brokers are available to help consumers navigate the enrollment process and select from various health insurance plans. They will also help consumers determine if they qualify for financial assistance. Consumers will be helped with the renewal process and encouraged to review their current coverage.

Info on enrollment centers:

Info on health plans:


Health Care Resources

WIC is a program that provides the following services to pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children up to age 5:

  • Nutrition counseling and education
  • Breastfeeding resources and support
  • Nutrient-rich foods (Foods provided by the program supply calcium, protein, iron, and Vitamins A, D, and C.)
  • Immunization assessment and screening
  • Referrals to health and social service providers
  • For women and children over 1-year-old, WIC also provides fresh fruits and vegetables (May – November) through the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.

More information about the WIC program and locations in Washington, DC is available here: dchealth.dc.gov/service/special-supplemental-nutrition-program-women-infants-and-children-wic

For a list of Community Provider Resources, please visit: dchealth.dc.gov/page/community-provider-resources

The mission of the Office of the Health Care Ombudsman and Bill of Rights is to guide, advocate and help people navigate through the health care system by helping them understand their health care coverage, assist in appealing health insurance decision, including public health care programs (Medicaid, Medicare, Tri-Care) and assisting District residents and those who have claims, medical procedures and prescriptions that have been denied by insurance companies that are regulated by the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking.

Main website: https://healthcareombudsman.dc.gov

Information on advice offered: https://healthcareombudsman.dc.gov/service/advice-01

Vital Records

For access to birth and death records in the District of Columbia, visit the DC Department of Health: https://dchealth.dc.gov/service/vital-records

Senior Wellness Centers

The Office on Aging Wellness Centers provide comprehensive programs that promote the health and wellness of DC senior residents 60 years of age and older. The programs serve as city-wide health education and applied learning centers with activities delivered through classes in nutrition, exercise, reflexology, smoking cessation and other health dialogues, seminars, support groups, auxiliary activities, creative arts, intergenerational programs and peer leader training. All services focus on wellness, health promotion and disease prevention.



Veterans affected by the government shutdown are encouraged to visit the DC Veterans Resource Guide.

Additional Resources:

Veterans Service Organization Assistance can be found here: https://servingtogetherproject.org/

Federal Dept of Veteran Affairs Assistance can be found here: https://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/ssvf/docs/SSVFUNavigatorTool_Sept_2018.pdf

Marriage License Applications and Certifications

Mayor Bowser signed the “Let Our Vows Endure Emergency Act of 2019” or “LOVE Act,” giving the Mayor the authority to issue marriage licenses and authorize officiants during this partial federal government shutdown.

Through a Mayor’s Order, the Secretary of the District of Columbia is delegated the authority to celebrate marriages, issue marriage licenses, authorize officiants, transmit true copies of licenses and officiant authorizations to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, execute certified copies of licenses issued by the Secretary, and execute all other documents necessary to issue and certify licenses that solemnize a marriage in the District of Columbia.

License applications, officiant authorizations, and certifications can be obtained through the Office of the Secretary, Office of Documents and Administrative Issuances at 441 4th Street, NW (Suite 520 South) between 9 am and 5 pm. Residents and visitors can learn more about receiving a marriage license by visiting os.dc.gov/page/marriage-licenses, emailing osmarriage@dc.gov, or calling (202) 727-5090.

Federal Government Shutdown Assistance for Washington, D.C. residents

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