PEABODY — For Beverly resident Geoff Baekey, managing director of Peabody-based CHM Government Services, government contracts are his “bread and butter.”
His company helps federal agencies such as the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management manage their commercial services and hospitality needs, such as the running of hotels, restaurants, retail and recreational services and facilities.
It works with iconic landmarks such as Yellowstone, Acadia, Yosemite, Glacier and Grand Teton national parks.
“It’s impacted us,” Baekey said last week of the partial government shutdown, which was in its 33rd day on Wednesday.
The impasse over money for a border wall has left 800,000 workers furloughed and missing their paychecks. About half of those in areas such as Homeland Security are working without pay. Many federal workers are having trouble making ends meet for basic necessities such as rent, mortgage and food.
There are stories of federal workers turning to food pantries. Swampscott Schools Wednesday announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that households of furloughed employees would be able to apply for free and reduced school meal benefits.
In addition to what furloughed workers are going through, the shutdown is also having an impact on some businesses and nonprofits.
Among them is CHM Government Services.
The company often deals with a National Park Service office in Lakewood, Colorado.
But there is no contracting activity during the shutdown, and none of the project managers are working. There is “no one there to receive ongoing analyses/reports or approve invoices,” Baekey said.
“It’s creating quite a business disruption and backlog,” he said.
While the parks themselves remain open, there are no rangers, management or staff to run them. There were stories of refuse, garbage and human effluent building up in parks shortly after the shutdown.
“Volunteers, friends, groups and others are having to step in to address these issues in the absence of federal government employees,” Baekey said.
The company does have state and municipal level work, so it continues to be viable.
Still, the company is planning to see “how this hopefully temporary event” might impact the company’s budget for the coming year.
A fact sheet issued by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and shared by Congressman Seth Mouton’s office at the start of the shutdown, pointed out that small business loans would be halted and home mortgage applications would be slowed.
Matt Corridoni, Moulton’s press secretary, said in an email Moulton’s office knows of “at least two small businesses in district who have SBA loans being held up because of the shutdown’s impact on the Small Business Administration.”
Kevin Tierney Sr., president and CEO of North Shore Bank, said the shutdown has not directly affected the bank’s business or had a measurable impact on mortgage lending.
“We are not aware of any of our customers that have been negatively impacted to the point where we have to step in and help,” he said.
But Tierney said the bank will work with furloughed workers facing loan payments or who might need short-term loans, and will waive overdraft fees for them for essentials.
Still, the ability of furloughed workers to get home loans is a concern.
“It’s possible, someone who was in a purchase situation, depending on their work status, their transaction could fall apart,” said Rick Bettencourt, branch manager of Mortgage Network Inc. at 52 Maple St. in Danvers.
Bettencourt, an expert in Department of Veterans Affairs home loans, said the shutdown has impacted clients of his, both of whom are veterans and air traffic controllers who are working without pay and trying to refinance a home in southern New Hampshire. Bettencourt said the VA is taking things on a case-by-case basis.
At Bridgewell, a nonprofit social and human services agency based in Peabody, interim CEO Chris Tuttle said the biggest issue is the organization’s contracts with the Department of Housing and Urban Development for subsidized housing.
One of those contracts, for a subsidy for five people, ends this week. Tuttle said the agency will make up the difference — “no one is going homeless, no one will be displaced,” he said — but if the shutdown continues and more HUD contracts run out, it’ll become burdensome for the nonprofit.
The shutdown also means families in the pipeline for permanent housing cannot move forward because they cannot get a subsidy from HUD.
With rents being so high on the North Shore, many low-income individuals depend on a HUD subsidy to afford an apartment. Bridgewell has 145 affordable apartments, most of which are in Lynn, but it also partners with 145 private landlords all over the North Shore.
“Our landlords we partner with are great, but they can’t go months without rent,” Tuttle said.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @TannerSalemNews.