We are male, female, young and old. We are married, single, raising two children alone. We are grandparents, recent college graduates and of all races, religions and political affiliations. We are educated and have high school diploma's, vocational school certificates, Associates, Bachelors and Masters degree's. We are the person sitting next to you at church, a next door neighbor, your best friend, the homeless woman you pass on the street without a glance, the man you see in line at the grocery store, the person crying while all of their belongings are being tossed out in the street. We are not lazy, shiftless or worthless. We are the by product of a bad economy and WE ARE THE FACE OF THE UNEMPLOYED!
In part due to the tanked economy, there are several online forums dealing with unemployment issues. I decided to visit a few, and ask that people share their stories with me. There are a lot of misconceptions about the unemployed. My goal is to put those misconceptions to rest, and give the unemployed a face. What you will find below, are some of the stories and comments that were shared with me.
"I'm not a home owner with a mortgage I couldn't afford. I don't have stocks
I'm just a hard working little guy when the world fell apart I went down with it."
"I am tired of selling my belongings for extra cash and barely making it."
"I have moved twice in the last two years and now I have no place to go at this time. Why now are we going through this. I am fifty-three years old thought I had done what I was supposed to do in order to secure my retirement and now I do not have the money to see tomorrow!"
"I have been a single mom for 20 years and worked every day of my life since I was 14. My 25 year career in the mortgage industry was blown to heck with this economic crisis (that really started a year before anyone else had a clue!) and I lost two jobs to company closings."
"I've already given up my dream car, dream home and most of my furniture because it wouldn't fit into the smaller home I moved to. I am now going back to school to get a degree so I can "reinvent" myself and make myself 'marketable' again."
"I saw a family sleeping in a van in the Wal-Mart parking lot and took them out to lunch earlier today. Sat down and talked to the mom. She can't get food-stamps because she doesn't have a physical address. She lost her apt because her UI tier 2 ran out in April. She can't find a job. Her two kids are with her in the van. I told her she can use my address, and I would give her the mail. I'm trying to get my old boss to hire her on."
"I've put myself through an Associates while unemployed and starting on my bachelors & RN in the fall. This baby makes #4, so we've felt the sting of this bad. Lost my job due to having baby #3 in '07, fell 1 month short of qualifying for FMLA because he came early so they replaced me. Had a 6 year career in staffing & recruiting prior to the last job."
"I used to enjoy grocery shopping, until today. The cashier was scanning my purchases when she suddenly stopped. In a voice loud enough for all to hear she said "You can't purchase liquor with food stamps" I saw her roll her eyes at the woman in line behind me. If she had asked me, I would have told her that the cheap bottle of wine was a hostess gift for my neighbor who understands what my family is going through, and invites us to dinner once a week. The cashiers intent was to embarrass me, and she achieved her goal. I am unemployed, I receive food stamps, and I am ashamed."
"I am almost 61 years old. I lost my job when the company I worked for "downsized". They terminated the 3 oldest employees. In a few short years I will collect SSI, and a small pension. Who wants to hire me? I am not a good investment."
Last month, the the House of Representatives took quick action and a first step in assisting the unemployed with passage of the House measure, H.R. 3548. The Bill passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 331 to 83 and reflects strong bipartisan support for the unemployed struggling to cope with the hardships of just trying to survive in today's economy. The House's vote is a critical first step in moving the unemployment extension through Congress in time to help the 600,000 who will or who have already lost their unemployment benefits this month and the estimated 1.5 million who run out of benefits by year end. It is now in the Senates hands to pass this Bill. STOP the game Senators, as these are peoples lives you are messing with. What part of they have NO money do you not get?
These unemployment benefits provide basic support to the millions who have lost their job through no fault of their own. The funds these people receive are critical in establishing a lifeline and allow them to survive in today's jobless economy. Furthermore, the dollars they receive are immediately turned backed into the economy and assist in creating an upward trend and healing in this ravaged economy. As the Senate ponders whether to provide an another extension of unemployment benefits, the faces of the unemployed hope that they keep them in mind and move this legislation forward. It isn't a want anymore, it is a NEED!
Written by SMS and tweaked by flyfishva.