Hebrew Free Loan offers aid to furloughed workers

The federal government has been shut down since Dec. 22. File photo.

The Hebrew Free Loan Association of Greater Washington announced Thursday that it would begin extending interest-free emergency loans for furloughed federal workers.

According to executive director Deborah Reichmann, a year-end fundraising push allowed the group to make $30,000 in total available for furloughed Jewish workers. Individual loans will be for $2,000 per approved household and recipients are expected to repay them upon receipt of their first paycheck at the conclusion of the shutdown. Historically, furloughed federal workers have received back pay after shutdowns through acts of Congress. Reichmann said that if back pay is not approved, the HFLA will consider restructuring the terms of repayment.

“This area is very affected by the federal government and a large number of people here will be impacted by this furlough,” Reichmann said. “Our mission to help Jewish people in the area, so we want to help them get through this time smoothly.”

Paychecks for the pay period ending Dec. 22 have gone out to furloughed workers. But checks for the following period, which would otherwise be sent starting Jan. 11, will not be sent unless there’s an immediate resolution to the impasse in Congress. If that doesn’t happen, workers can hope to receive another paycheck around Jan. 25 at the earliest.


On Thursday evening, after taking control of the House of Representatives, Democrats voted to reopen the government without funding for a southern border wall that President Donald Trump has demanded. Trump promised to veto any such agreement, and as of Friday afternoon, there was no indication that a resolution was forthcoming.

“When, hopefully soon, [furloughed workers] regain their paychecks, we don’t want them to have incurred debt and interest to pay so that they can resume life as seamlessly as possible,” Reichmann said.

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