Though the shutdown of the federal government could put as many as 29,000 federal employees in Massachusetts out of work, according to Boston.com, the effects of the shutdown in Somerville were uncertain on Tuesday.
Jaclyn Rossetti, a spokesperson for the city, said there weren't any immediate effects on city services.
As the impact of the shutdown trickles down to the municipal level, there could be a delay in the reimbursement of some federal grants, Rossetti said in an email, but those reimbursements would be made eventually.
Beyond that, residents could run into difficulties with WIC payments, which provide food assistance to low income woman, infants and children.
National Public Radio reported some state programs that serve such low-income women could run out of money by next week. As many as 9 million women and children across the country "may be worrying where next week's meal is going to come from," the radio service said.
Although the WIC program's website was closed down Tuesday, Rossetti was not sure the extent to which WIC customers in Somerville would be affected.
Other services, such as flu vaccines and heating assistance could also be affected, Rossetti said, though it was too soon to determine the the exact impacts in Somerville.
Jay Weaver, director of Somerville's Department of Veterans' Services, said "it's difficult at this point" to know the effects of the shutdown.
"VA"—Veterans Affairs—"payments for disabilities and pensions are still being paid," he said.
Weaver said he received information on Wednesday that the VA has emergency funds to make disability and pension payments through the end of October. After that, funds would become exhausted.
The Chapter 115 program, which provides financial and medical assistance to indigent veterans and their families, is funded through the state and city and therefore isn't affected, Weaver said.
"In the short term the impact is minimal for veterans," he said. But the longer the shutdown continues, the more likely it is that veterans will seek out help from the veterans' services office, he added.
Somerville Housing Authority
At the Somerville Housing Authority "there are no service cutbacks to our tenants," according to Deputy Director Paul Mackey.
"The money we use is already in our accounts," he said, and "it takes a while for these things to trickle down."
The biggest impact of the shutdown for the Somerville Housing Authority is that it's unable to do business with the regional office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
According to WBUR, 95 percent of employees in Boston's HUD office were furloughed.
"Things that are pending are just delayed," Mackey said.
But delay could lead to lost money, he added. For example, the Somerville Housing Authority was negotiating a cell tower lease with some mobile communications companies, like AT&T and Verizon. It needs the Department of Housing and Urban Development to approve the lease, and if that approval is delayed, the cell phone companies may abandon the deal and look elsewhere.
If the deal falls through, the Somerville Housing Authority could lose $100,000 over five years. "That's real money that goes right back into building repairs," Mackey said.
Elsewhere in Massachusetts, some federal offices and sites were closed, including the Great Hall in Faneuil Hall and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum, Boston.com reported.
WBUR also said Sen. Elizabeth Warren's office shed interns and was therefore hard to contact.
Mark Alston-Follansbee, executive director of the Somerville Homeless Coalition, said the shutdown "has not impacted us directly yet."
However, "the politicians are playing with people's lives. They don't get how this affects real people," he said.
He added, "The fear is, the longer it goes on, the longer people will suffer."
Although not directly related to the shutdown, Alston-Follansbee said his organization, which works to prevent homelessness, would lose $60,000 in fiscal-year 2014 due to Sequestration.
"Also, Congress has already cut food stamps—the SNAP program," he said, and those cuts went into effect Tuesday.
He hoped those "idiots in Congress get their act together before people really get hurt," he said.