NEW YORK -- Mayor Bill de Blasio sounded the alarm Thursday at City Hall. He said if the federal government shutdown continues, more than two million New Yorkers will be affected.
"Unfortunately, today, I have to tell you that things are not OK," he said.
He called it a manufactured crisis and said the neediest New Yorkers will suffer. Starting March 1, New York City will lose half a billion dollars a month.
"Oh man, this is going to be terrible," Joyce Smith said. As a lifelong New Yorker who lives on the Lower East Side, she relies on food stamps. As of March 1, federal food and housing vouchers will stop.
Mayor de Blasio asked New Yorkers to start saving money. And also noted that they will receive their February benefits this month and they shouldn't spend it.
"We are now entering nothing less than a full blown crisis that is about to have massive effects on the people of New York City," the mayor said.
If this shutdown continues, city leaders are concerned New Yorkers will face hunger and evictions.
According to Mayor de Blasio, "We are going to be reaching out to the whole non profit sector, the philanthropic sector, the business community, the clergy, everyone to set up ways to help people in need."
The city has created a website at nyc.gov/federalshutdown. It has information on rent and mortgage assistance, food pantry locations and mental health services.