KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — On Friday, hundreds of thousands of federal employees face their first missed paycheck due to the government shutdown.
10News used a cost of living generator to predict just what that would mean for the average federal employee in East Tennessee.
Multiple sources put the median household income in Knoxville at about $34,000. That runs to about $2,400 per month coming back to one's wallet.
Considering just a few bills, that sum starts subtracting quickly. With an average utility bill of $137, average rent of $1,096, average food cost of $430 and average healthcare cost at $280, one is left with close to $500.
That number does not account for taxes, transportation, or shopping for clothes or other essentials. One missed paycheck and no savings would put someone at $750 in debt.
“This is real life stuff," said Ben Landers, president of United Way of Greater Knoxville. "This is how many people in our region and this community live and we are hopeful that this government shutdown won't impact folks further where a lot of this unfortunately would be played out in reality."
Landers says United Way suggests people call their help line at 2-1-1 for assistance with any of the needs mentioned above. So far, the 119 programs the organization funds over 56 partner agencies has not seen any decline in funding due to the shutdown.
"If there were shortages or some events that would cause us to need to rally we have plans in place and we would activate it. So far, we're not hearing any reports but we're ready," Landers said.