ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As the partial federal government shutdown continues, unpaid bills continue to stack up for federal workers.
- LINK: Pinellas County utilities help
- LINK: Pinellas County rent/mortgage assistance
- LINK: Hillsborough County rent/mortgage assistance
- CALL: Duke Energy Billing Assistance 800-700-8744
- CALL: Pinellas County Utilities Phone Center 727-464-4000
For many of these public servants, asking for help is tough.
At Metropolitan Ministries, although the holidays are over, the need has not ended. For furloughed employees, all you need is your government ID and you'll be able to access any of the ministry's food.
"Our peak normal time is leading up to the holidays," said James Dunbar, the director of services. "Normally after the holidays we have a little bit of a downturn. We haven't seen that yet."
As for utility bills, Pinellas County officials say they’re ready to help with your water and sewage bill.
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"With a form of ID and two pay stubs, one showing full and one showing a zero, and we'll defer their payment until the shutdown is over," said Pinellas County Customer Services Director Georges Gonzalez. "At that point, the payment is due in full."
Furloughed workers looking for assistance are spending a lot of time online.
Ana Gibbs, a spokeswoman for Duke Energy, said the utility's website has several links that furloughed employees can go to start the process of getting assistance.
"There's a variety of different programs and we want you to reach out because everybody's in a different situation," she said.
The most important thing, utility companies say, is to call bill collectors before they call you.