(Carolyn Goodman) – I would like to take this time to share with you the depth of despair permeating an enormous and growing segment of this community, the unemployed.
Throughout this crisis, my goal has been and will continue to be, STANDING UP AND BEING A VOICE FOR THE WORKING PEOPLE AND SMALL BUSINESSES OF THIS GREAT COMMUNITY WHO ARE SUFFERING.
Based on thousands of calls and emails to my office these past weeks, the fear of imminent, utter poverty is every bit as real as the fear of the virus.
According to the Nevada Independent, from March 8 through April 25, there have been 393,061 initial unemployment claims filed in Nevada, which is more than any FULL calendar year in the state’s history. That figure represents 25 percent of Nevada’s total workforce. And that does NOT count the thousands more who have not been able to get through to receive a single dollar yet.
Nor does it include contract and gig workers who are not yet able to file for unemployment. Nor does it include those who’ve received their debit cards but with no funds loaded on them! Nor does it include the thousands more Nevadans who are very likely to be laid off in the weeks and months ahead.
I implore the State to enlist their employees to be redirected to work on resolving unemployment complications immediately. Our out-of-work citizens need money to feed their families and pay their bills; it is money they EARNED, and it is OWED TO THEM.
While I am grateful there are now first steps toward the eventual re-opening of Nevada, it is important to remember that far too many of our people are unemployed NOW.
At the City and in my office, all ARE answering the phones, and we are told people are spending hours attempting to get through to state lines with no success. This has created terror and panic for those who have no income!
While I understand a new interim director has been appointed at DETR, hopefully to help alleviate this backlog, I want to share a few of the REAL STORIES of REAL PEOPLE who have contacted my office for help:
First, a bartender for a neighborhood tavern writes:
“I am just at my wit’s end…I have Exhausted All Funds to my name… And I cannot get through to anything for assistance… I wake up every morning trying to stay positive and not slip into full depression….It’s a Battle every day! My routine is wake up 7am start calling unemployment, back to back to back until it kicks you off by 9:30 am….
“Once I fail at that, I then Try and log into check where my stimulus check is… (it keeps saying I don’t exist)? And there is nobody to talk to! The Lady I rent from is calling, texting and hassling me every day for money I absolutely don’t have… The stress is starting to overwhelm me and take over! I am scared…. What am I supposed to do?”
A caller to my office says:
“I am down to my last $30. I have a wife, a 2 ½ year old and an 8 month old, and we have literally $30 left. I try to get through to unemployment every day. What am I supposed to do?”
Another caller says:
“I worked two jobs—one for a Strip casino and one on the outskirts of town. My wife worked for a neighborhood casino. We have lost all three jobs and have not been able to get through to Unemployment. What are we supposed to do?”
And finally, from a renowned chef:
“Sorry to contact you at such a chaotic time. I was hoping you may have a suggestion for a contact at the unemployment office. In short, after lengthy attempts, I was able to fill out a claim online. When I reached the page determining my employer, I selected the correct one. The subsequent page showed I had no earnings for 2018 nor 2019. I was deemed ineligible.
“I secured my payroll records and faxed them as well as mailed them on April 17th and again the following week. My wife and I have logged 7, 579 calls as many others have. Not one time did we get anything but a busy signal. Not emails nor phone nor postal responses. We are fearing the worst if no assistance is in the near future. I know you are not responsible, but I’m getting worried. Again, I’m sorry to cry on your shoulder. But what am I supposed to do?”
My question is what ARE these people supposed to do?
We’ve heard, “Be patient,” but the people of this great community HAVE been patient. We are going into the eighth week of this shutdown with no definitive timeline.
I continue to have every confidence that our business owners and managers will do what needs to be done to re-open safely with the interests of their employees and visitors paramount.
The Nevada United Plan for Recovery does not contain specific dates to enable families and business owners—many of whom have invested their life savings into these businesses—to have a life preserver TODAY and to plan for their futures. I recognize there is fear about opening too soon, but the question many are asking is…
WHEN IS TOO SOON TOO LATE???