Employees of the Lighthouse for the Blind are feeling the strain of the federal budget cuts.

The nonprofit organization isn't funded by the government, but it does rely on government contract work to stay afloat.

Raul Gamez is one of 250 blind employees who make a living working at Lighthouse for the Blind.

He's worked there for more than 12 years.  

It's been a steady job -- until lately.

The nonprofit relies heavily on government orders for products like combat shirts, helmets, pens and pencils and other items.

However, due to sequestration, those orders are drying up and so is the work.

"It affected us greatly. We are currently on a four-day work week -- kind of like our own sequestration," said Nancy Lipton, Lighthouse for the Blind's director of public relations

That adds up to about 20 percent pay cut for employees.

"I can't spend money like I used to and I kind of have to watch everything," said Gamez

In order to make up for cutbacks in military contracts, the Lighthouse is now picking up some contracts with private companies.

"I mean, you have to adapt to what's going on. If you don't adapt, then layoffs will be imminent," said Lipton.

Layoffs would be especially tough for blind employees.

Lipton said the unemployment rate for the blind is at 70 percent.

So far, there haven't been any layoffs locally, but divisions of the nonprofit in other cities have had to let people go.

It's hoped that here, private contracts will fill the gap.

"Hopefully by September, maybe, we'll be able to go back to a five-day work week," said Lipton.

While Gamez may not have faith in lawmakers resolving sequestration, he does have faith that the nonprofit will prevail.

"It's kind of tough right now, but we just have to hope for the best and think for the future and I believe that things are going to get better," he said

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