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Harrisonburg neighborhood experiencing major mail delivery delays

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 6:32 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 19, 2021 at 7:53 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - A Harrisonburg neighborhood is dealing with some major delays in the delivery of their mail.

Residents of the Northfield Court neighborhood have been going days, in some cases weeks, without receiving their mail.

Staffing shortages have plagued the United States Postal Service all over the country, including in Harrisonburg.

People in Northfield Court said they have been seeing their mailboxes empty most days since the beginning of the month, and one resident said it’s starting to cause problems for him and his wife.

“Since the 1st of October we got mail on the 8th of October, that’s the only delivered mail we’ve had,” said Don Kidd, a 79-year-old resident of Northfield Court.

Kidd and his wife Diana are retired and depend on having their mail delivered since Don is paralyzed. Over the weekend, Diana went to the post office to see if their mail was there.

“Some of the other neighbors had gone down and they had gotten a big bowl, like two weeks worth of mail. She got three pieces of mail,” Kidd said.

Among that mail was a dividend check the couple depends on that had been mailed back on Oct. 1 but had never arrived at their home.

“We’re on limited income and that is an integral part of the income, so I mean we don’t get prescriptions by mail, thank goodness, or we would’ve not had them either,” said Kidd. “We’re at their mercy. We’re at the mercy of the United States Postal Service.”

WHSV spoke with other members of the neighborhood who did not wish to appear on camera, but said they’ve experienced similar delays.

One woman said the Harrisonburg post office told her they are severely understaffed after a few drivers retired and others have been out sick.

WHSV reached out to the USPS for comment and received the statement below from Philip Bogenberger, who oversees media relations in Virginia.

This year has been very challenging, not only for the Postal Service, but for the entire country. The Postal Service has contended with huge increases in package volume coupled with equally dramatic declines in letter mail. The nation’s logistics supply chain has been upended by surging demand combined with disruptions—some extremely serious—to the surface and air transport industries.

Additionally, this has been an extraordinary year of unprecedented challenges given the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, staffing was occasionally impacted in some areas, including Harrisonburg. We thank our customers for their understanding and continued support.

It is important to point out that the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides postal employees with up to 600 hours of Emergency Federal Employee Leave (EFEL) in response to the ongoing pandemic. Congress enacted the law with the understandable consequence that employee availability would be affected, particularly for federal agencies. Since the passage of the Act, employees in the Virginia District reached 210,072 hours, or 26,259 lost workdays.

That said, we have taken specific actions to continue to serve our customers, which includes hiring additional personnel and assigning carriers from nearby areas to surge delivery of any backlogged mail. Some positions have been filled already and we are in the process of evaluating and hiring qualified candidates for other vacancies. Any positions not filled will be reposted on usps.com/careers.

From January 2021 through January 2022 we expect to hire approximately 100,000 employees nationwide. This number covers normal attrition and our peak holiday season. This effort is one part of our Delivering for America Plan, through which the Postal Service is investing $40 billion over 10 years in infrastructure and our employees. We have been hiring more than 40,000 employees for peak season, which includes positions throughout Virginia.

The Postal Service is prepared to deliver for the upcoming holiday season. The infrastructure investment includes modernizing and streamlining our retail and delivery networks, especially for parcel delivery. The Postal Service has recently opened or will open Parcel Sorting Annexes (PSAs) nationwide before the holiday season, including PSAs throughout Virginia, to handle the expected increases in holiday package volume.

We encourage people who are interested in a career, part-time or seasonal position with the Postal Service to check usps.com/careers regularly as job listings are updated frequently.

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