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Federal contractors struggling to make ends meet

Posted at 4:45 PM, Jan 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-10 20:09:04-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - While federal workers are bracing for a missing paycheck Friday, some federal contractors started feeling the pain from the shutdown last week.

"I wake up at 5 in the morning, and I still do. I have nowhere to go," said Enrique.

Enrique's surreal journey as a federal contractor during the government shutdown has turned painful.

"It does get stressful once you see the bills piling up," said Enrique.

For the last 5 years, he's been a local fleet manager assistant for the vehicles of the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice.

"Got furloughed, stayed at home ... when I return, no back pay at all," said Enrique.

Last week, he missed his first paycheck.

"I do have a mortgage, two kids and a wife, so it's hard to deal with," said Enrique.

He's a month into the long-planned construction of an addition at his home in Paradise Hills, which has depleted his savings. Enrique has enough to cover this month's mortgage payment, but that's about it.

"It's going to get tough. It's getting tough," Enrique said.

These days you can usually find him online or on the phone applying for jobs.

"So far, close to 50 ... still waiting, tight competition out there," said Enrique.

He's also applied for unemployment. His wife has taken extra shifts at work. They've tightened the budget at home, including groceries. Enrique even set up a Gofundme campaign to help with expenses - whatever it takes.

"Hoping for a miracle. Don't know what's going to happen," Enrique said.

Enrique says he's frustrated, feeling like a political pawn.

"It's like a bidding war, and it feels like we're the chips you could say," said Enrique.

As for that contest of wills over border security, he's over it.

"Just deal with it at separate time. It doesn't feel great at all not being paid ... and not taking care of my family. I just want them to put this shutdown to an end," said Enrique.