Local agencies that get federal funds continue as normal despite shutdown

PADUCAH — Although federal agencies continue to feel the effects of the partial federal government shutdown, local groups that rely on federal funding are continuing as normal.

One of those agencies is Heartland CARES, Inc., which recently moved to its new location at 1903 Broadway St. in Paducah. The nonprofit HIV/AIDS clinic serves about 400 clients in west Kentucky and southern Illinois.

Heartland CARES receives about $1.4 million in federal funds each year through the Health Resources and Services Administration, Heartland CARES Executive Director Donna Reeder said. The money allows the clinic to provide a host of medical and support services for those living with HIV/AIDS, such as medical case management, mental health counseling, oral care, financial aid,  food and transportation services, and rental and utility assistance. Helping clients in those areas allows them to focus more on taking care of their health, Reeder said.

“If you don’t have a house over your head, if you don’t have food in your home, you’re less likely to be concerned about the medications that you take for HIV,” Reeder said.

Reeder said she’s aware of how the partial government shutdown is impacting federal employees. But the shutdown has not hit Heartland CARES yet.

“I feel for those that are impacted by it and may not receive a paycheck,” Reeder said. “As far as Heartland CARES is concerned, it hasn’t affected our agency. We are still able to be in contact with our federal project officer. We are still receiving the monthly funding.”

Reeder said she watched President Donald Trump’s address to the nation Tuesday night. And although the shutdown continues, Reeder is optimistic there will be a common ground.

“I think the goal of both parties is to resolve this,” she said.

Heartland CARES also receives funding from the United Way of Paducah – McCracken County for prevention services, such as free HIV testing and community education.

Another Paducah organization that receives federal funding is the Merryman House Domestic Crisis Center, which recently was awarded more than $1.4 million in federal grant money. The organization said the shutdown won’t affect them unless it goes on for a few months.

Meanwhile, on the federal level, the American Federation of Government Employees said some TSA officers have already quit because of uncertainty of whether they’ll get paid. The AFGE represents more than 44,000 TSA officers. The union recently sued the federal government.

The USDA website, which posts consumer product recalls and other vital information, also has not been updated because of the shutdown.

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