Mayor London N. Breed and Treasurer José Cisneros announce steps to assist furloughed federal workers

While the government is temporarily re-opened, The City will move forward a plan to offer no-interest loans to federal employees forced to go without pay in future shutdowns.


January 25, 2019 

San Francisco, CA —Mayor London N. Breed and Treasurer José Cisneros today announced a program to provide assistance to federal employees who are furloughed or working without pay due to a federal government shutdown. The program will be available to affected employees who reside in San Francisco or work at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The proposal requires approval from the Board of Supervisors, and will be introduced as an ordinance on Tuesday to ensure employees are covered if there is not a permanent end to the shutdown in three weeks. Supervisor Matt Haney will co-sponsor the legislation with Mayor Breed.

President Trump and Congressional leaders today announced an agreement to temporarily re-open the government for three weeks. While the government is temporarily re-opened, this program would be available in case the government does not come to a resolution and shuts down again.

Under the proposal, the City will secure a $20 million line of credit for the Treasurer to distribute zero-interest loans of up to $6,000 per employee. It is estimated that there are roughly 2,000 affected federal employees residing in San Francisco and 1,300 workers at SFO who would qualify.

“When federal workers are forced to go without pay due to a federal shutdown, we can and will step in to help these workers take care of themselves and their families. Even with this short-term deal to reopen the government, we will still move forward with this plan so that if the government closes again we will be prepared to help our workers,” said Mayor Breed. “This way of governing needs to come to an end. We do not need a border wall, we need the President to stop holding the government and peoples’ livelihoods hostage. I want to thank Treasurer Cisneros for his partnership in helping to create this program for workers who could be missing their paychecks.”

“I am committed to helping federal workers avoid turning to predatory payday loans,” said Treasurer Cisneros. “On behalf of all San Franciscans, I am proud to stand with the Mayor to offer a zero-interest loan to thousands of people working without pay.” ​

For many workers, the impact of a missed paycheck is felt immediately. Most Americans do not have $500 saved to cover emergency expenses, and when people experience shocks to income, they often turn to high-cost and damaging financial options such as increasing credit card debt, delaying payment of bills, or taking out payday loans. The City’s zero-interest loan program will help families weather the shock without causing long-term financial damage. Participants will have 60 days to repay the loans once the shutdown has concluded. Loans would be available immediately after the legislation is signed.

“When the White House fails our residents, the City and County of San Francisco must always be prepared to step up and have their backs,” said Supervisor Haney. “This is a significant and immediate solution to support impacted workers who are worried about how they can pay the bills. Even if the shutdown ends, we must continue to be prepared. I’m grateful for the leadership of Mayor London Breed and Treasurer Jose Cisneros for developing this creative program to support federal workers.”

Treasurer Cisneros has arranged for BALANCE, the City’s financial coaching partner, to offer free one-on-one credit counseling for any San Francisco workers impacted by the federal shutdown. San Francisco residents can call BALANCE at 1-866-520-0921 and speak to a Certified Credit Counselor to find safe options to resolve any negative impacts of the shutdown on their finances.

Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced that furloughed workers can apply for unemployment through the state. Furloughed workers can visit for more information.​

The Treasurer will be responsible for managing this program. With the assistance of CityBase, the City’s payment gateway provider, the Treasurer’s Office is building an online application to ensure swift processing for all who apply. Information will be available at