The partial U.S. government shutdown has continued longer than any in U.S. history and left many federal workers without a paycheck. But rent and mortgage payments are still due.
A whopping 800,000 workers aren't being paid, including 380,000 who are furloughed and 420,000 who are working without salary, according to a recent report from real-estate website Zillow. Of the workers who own a home, their total mortgage payments add up to $249 million per month. Of those who rent, their payments come to $189 million.
That's a grand total of $438 million workers owe for housing just in January.
Paying those bills could be a challenge. "Like Americans in the private sector, many federal employees rely on each and every paycheck to cover critical expenses, including housing," Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas says in the report. Indeed, some affected employees have been making that point on Twitter.
"Housing affordability is already stretched" in many parts of the country, Terrazas says, particularly in notoriously pricey places like San Francisco, where the median rent is $4,500 and the median home could cost you more than $1.2 million. So "a single missed payment can begin the long process toward foreclosure or eviction — which has long-term impacts on an individual's finances and economic prospects."
Already, nearly 80 percent of U.S. workers say they live paycheck to paycheck, according to a 2017 report by employment site CareerBuilder, including about 10 percent of those making $100,000 a year or more.