Tempe family of 7 fighting off homelessness as shutdown continues

Jan 18, 2019, 5:35 PM | Updated: Jan 22, 2019, 12:58 pm
(Photo by Peter Samore/KTAR News)...
(Photo by Peter Samore/KTAR News)
(Photo by Peter Samore/KTAR News)

TEMPE — The federal government shutdown hits home for one family of seven.

But that home may soon be no more as the shutdown threatens to force them out on the streets.

Joseph Montague is disabled, but is ineligible for disability payments, so he works with his hands.

“I dumpster dive, and I pick up pieces of wood,” he said. “I re-purpose the wood, and then turn it into furniture to sell.”

But his wife’s hands are tied because she hasn’t received her federal paychecks for a month.

The Montagues cannot make rent next month, so they’re boxing and selling their possessions.

“It’s hard when you don’t know what you’re going to do,” Montague said, fighting tears. “You don’t know how you’re going to make it.”

Montague, 41, is calling Valley services and charities for financial aid to help him make rent on his house.

But he doesn’t entirely blame President Donald Trump or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the federal shutdown that has left his family without pay.

Montague also blames the American public.

“They work for us, and if we’re not standing up and we’re not directing them of what we want them to do, then that part is on us,” he said.

The Montagues have five kids.

“As parents, you’ve got to keep on going,” he said. “We’re going to sell everything and throw away whatever we can’t take, and start over.”

Unless the budget stalemate ends, Montague expects even more than 800,000 federal workers to go unpaid.

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Tempe family of 7 fighting off homelessness as shutdown continues