University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service graduate Heath Carelock, who serves as Program Director for the Financial Empowerment Center at Prince George’s Community College, is playing a major role in the county’s efforts to support federal workers during the partial government shutdown.
With 70,000 federal workers residing in Prince George’s County, Md., located just east of Washington, D.C., the county elected to take steps to offer a “shutdown relief package.” Prince George’s Community College and its Financial Empowerment Center are playing major roles.
“The Financial Empowerment Center can offer individuals solutions to various challenges, especially if they’re affected by the shutdown,” Carelock said. “We can be a conduit to the services that people need.”
The Financial Empowerment Center is offering free services like debt management, tax preparations, and budgeting for those affected by the government shutdown. Individualized services include free financial coaching, small business coaching, and housing counseling, among others. The community college is offering tuition assistance for those impacted by the partial shutdown.
“People need to know their options during a crisis,” Carelock said. “They need to know their rights during a crisis and they need to be able to execute. We can do that by offering links to the toolkits, links to resources, and providing copies of actual hardcopies of energy assistance.”
Other organizations in the area are helping. The United Way of the National Capital Area is launching an emergency assistance fund, contributing $50,000. Pepco is adding in an additional $50,000. The money in the fund will be used to help those impacted with food, rent, and other needs.
Prince George’s County Public Schools is creating a new fund to help feed students who need a hot meal through the shutdown. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission announced it will be suspending all water service shutoffs, waiving late fees, and working one-on-one with customers impacted by the partial shutdown.
For more about the work of Carelock, Prince George’s Community College, and others, visit the county’s website.