SEBRING - Sebring resident Steve Cochlin fears he'll lose his home if the government shutdown isn't resolved.
He said on Tuesday, the first day of the shutdown, that his housing is subsidized and he can barely pay the $66 he pays now compared with the $700 he might have to pay if the subsidy ends. He said he was told it could happen by the end of October.
"What am I going to do?" he asked. "That's where I'm at."
The shutdown occurred after the Senate and the House of Representatives failed to pass a spending bill. U.S. Rep. Thomas J. Rooney, a Republican who represents Highlands County, said he will refuse to accept pay until the shutdown ends.
For most residents of Highlands County, the federal shutdown is almost like if they had a party and no one came to it.
The Social Security Office in Sebring was open Tuesday morning and everything seemed to be going on as normal. Mail carriers delivered the mail as they would normally.
At Allstar Gun & Pawn, the shutdown did not affect customers buying guns. Owner Tom Luverson said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement rather than the federal government does the background checks.
Julian Eddington, owner of Travel Planner International, said he didn't expect that the shutdown would affect him or his customers, even if the government stopped processing passports.
For years now, he said, people have been urged to get their passports, rather than wait to apply.
"Lots of people have gotten them during the last three years," he said.
Avon Park Housing Authority Director Larry Shoeman said he doesn't expect more than a nominal affect, even if some funding is delayed.
"We have sufficient reserves to carry that burden for the immediate period," he said. "Our doors will remain open and will continue to operate our day-to-day business affairs."
The biggest effect in the area may come at the Avon Park Bombing Range. Master Sgt. Sonny Cohrs said 19 of the 40 civilian employees will be furloughed. Those who are not being furloughed include firefighters who are part of emergency services and are considered critical to the operations of the range, Cohrs said.
Military personnel will pick up some of the duties of the civilians being laid off, he said. "It's going to be really stressful for our teammates.
While not being furloughed from a federal government job, Cochlin said he's feeling a lot of stress. He said he believes the shutdown is a sign that the government is nearing collapse because of excessive borrowing and wasteful spending.
"They're not going to be able to turn it around unless everyone makes sacrifices and nobody wants to do that ," he said.
James Kelley, another area resident, blames the entire situation on President Obama, saying "I have no use for him."
But another man who wouldn't give his name said that he objects to the shutting down of the government to postpone the affordable care act.
"People need health insurance," he said.
Another man who also wouldn't give his name questioned the reasons for a shutdown.
"I think it's a big farce," he said. "It's just a power play."