MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Starting Saturday, federal unemployment benefits will be ending in Tennessee. Nearly 5,000 new unemployment claims were filed last week.
Some people, like Alex Longstreet, will be living on $86 a week. Between catching Covid-19 at work and eventually being laid off from both of his jobs, he is fighting to survive.
"Federal unemployment ending is going to impact so many people lives and put so many people behind debt and put so many people out on the street," Longstreet said.
He also cares for his 6-month-old daughter and his mother, who's been battling chronic illnesses. The extra $300 a week was a lifeline that wouldn't put him at risk of bringing the virus home again.
"I was risking going to work so I could be able to pay the bills," Longstreet said.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee ended the federal unemployment benefits early to encourage people to get back to work.
"I don’t want anybody to see me like I’m lazy or I don’t want to work," Longstreet said. "I will work, but the thing is jobs aren't cooperating with me."
Longstreet hopes he can get some assistance until he has a regular income again.
"I’m hoping that Bill Lee hears our story and hopefully he’ll make a gracious decision to start back up the $300," Longstreet said. "If we can’t do that then I don’t know what’s next."
Those needing help with rent and utility payments can apply through MIFA.
The Mid-South Food Bank can provide food.
For immediate shelter, you can call 24-hour homeless hotline at 901-529-4545.