Government shutdown affects Reno teen mom


Reno resident Jessica Bullard* is in a job training program and trying to turn her life around. She had a baby two weeks ago and was so excited to finally be eligible to apply for low-income apartment housing – except that she can’t because of the U.S. federal government shutdown.

Paula Crandell, director of operations at Casa De Vida Reno, a nonprofit corporation that provides support services for pregnant young women, said the apartment will not allow Bullard to move in until she attains a social security card for her newborn baby. Crandell said at least two women in her organization have also been affected by the shutdown.

“She was doing so well and really getting back on her feet and housing was the last piece of the puzzle, but now they are saying, ‘No,’” Crandell said.

When the government shut down on Sept.  30, so did most of its sectors including offices for the U.S. Social Security Administration. According to its website, Social Security offices seized services like issuing new or replacement Social Security cards, replacing Medicare cards and issuing proof of income letters. This led to newborn children not being issued Social Security cards. Despite Bullard’s pleas to the office about needing a card issued for her baby, they aren’t budging.

“She told them her situation and she still couldn’t get a [Social Security card] print out,” Crandell said. “She had to be passed up on the list for the apartment because of this, and she can only be passed one time. So if the government is still shut down next week, she will have to wait another year.”

With limited funding, the Social Security Administration Office is not able to provide certain services, and citizens are being directly affected.

“There are so many things that people don’t realize this is affecting,” Crandell said. “This girl is the sweetest girl, and it isn’t like she is on welfare or trying to get welfare’s money— she just wants this apartment.”

*Jessica Bullard’s name has been changed