HOUSTON — Thousands of employees in the Houston area have been out of work since Dec. 22, and may be struggling to pay living expenses and provide basic necessities for their loved ones.

If you’ve been looking for ways to help these furloughed federal workers, Mayor Sylvester Turner has a suggestion. 

The City of Houston is partnering with the Houston Relief Hub and several local nonprofit groups to connect furloughed employees living in Houston with assistance during the government shutdown. 

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Beginning Tuesday, January 22, furloughed federal employees can apply for a $100 voucher and obtain information about organizations and businesses offering meals, deals and other assistance. 

At the same time, the public will have one central location to donate non-perishable food, diapers and other baby items, cleaning supplies, gift cards and cash. 

They will also accept donations of furniture, appliances, clothing, vehicles and mattresses.

Helping Hands will begin collecting donations on Tuesday at 600 Kenrick Dr. in north Houston or you can schedule a donation pickup. 

The Houston Relief Hub will coordinate volunteers to accept and process donations according to founder Bill Baldwin.

"Just as in the days following Harvey, we understand the shutdown has an exponential effect on individuals and families. Our goal is to connect those who desire to help their fellow Houstonians with those who need our help, and vice versa, while sharing resources to ensure basic needs are met. All are encouraged to contact us in this uncertain time to see how we can support one another," Baldwin said.

"There appears to be no end in sight to the longest government shutdown in US history, and we want to do our part to help fellow Houstonians in their time of need," Mayor Turner said. "We will be connecting individuals with resources and information on how to apply for immediate assistance. We hope to ease the burden of federal employees who, through no fault of their own, are being forced to make a huge personal sacrifice."

No city financial resources will be used for this project according to Mayor Sylvester Turner.

A list of available shutdown assistance resources may be found on the Houston Relief Hub website. The list will be regularly updated with information helpful to furloughed federal employees.

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