Congress fails to extend unemployment benefits - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Congress fails to extend unemployment benefits

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Republican's blocked the bill saying it would add to the nation's exploding deficit, but there will be a human cost.

Colleen Clark Worked in property management for 15 years. Then, The Great Recession started.

Now, jobless for two years, her 99 weeks of benefits have run out, and she's now preparing for a worst case scenario. "My faith in God. That's the only thing that keeps me going."

Everyday starts the same for Clark, but, she says, each day gets harder. "This, I declare in the name of the Lord. He alone is my refuge."

She prays and clings to faith hoping her next job is just a day or two away. That's about all the time she has left. Especially now with the U.S. House voting down a bill that would have given her three more months of unemployment benefits. "I do know that the last claim that I put in this last week. It was my final check, and it isn't even the full amount that I would normally get."

She's now trying to sell many of her belongings and packing up everything else in case she can't pay her rent. "It is the longest period of time that I have had to endure a great amount of stress."

But it's not just financial stress. "You know my backup plan? I don't have one."

It's emotional stress. "One of my family members said well there are always homeless shelters."

To try and avoid that the other part of Colleen's day is spent at Workforce Alliance in West Palm Beach. She's been coming here for two years.

Each day she jots down notes with job leads and then applies online. She last worked as a regional facilities manager for a major furniture retailer.

Now, she says, she'll take almost any kind of office or clerical job. "It just didn't dawn on me that it would take such a long period of time."

It's estimated four million Americans are in the same situation: No jobs and now no safety net to keep her afloat.

So her search continues and gets more desperate. "I believe there really needs to be a sense of compassion on behalf of those who still have their jobs because it could happen to them. It could happen to them at anytime."

With the holidays coming up, Colleen says, one of the ways people can help the unemployed this time of year is try to help them pay bills.

All things said, she says, people need to not give up and keep looking for work.

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