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Week 5: Jobless woman barely hangs on without unemployment benefits

Christy Zemcik spoke to us a few weeks ago about her struggle to stay afloat after the extended unemployment benefits she depended on her were held up by GOP members of the state legislature on April 16.

When we first talked with her, Zemcik, a 41-year-old former teacher and assistant in a doctor’s office, had gotten served with an eviction notice and was waiting for her power to be shut off.

Now, 37 days into the impasse, nearly all of Zemcik’s furniture is being auctioned off and she’s waiting for a sheriff’s deputy to come to  lock her out of her Charlotte apartment anyday.

“There are times when I feel like I can barely pick myself off the floor,” she said.

For those that are counting, it’s been 37 days since thousands of North Carolinians were cut off from their employment benefits when the GOP-controlled legislature hinged the benefits to a proposal to make Gov. Bev Perdue agree to a budget with drastic cuts. Perdue, a Democrat, vetoed the measure, and Republicans haven’t moved to restore the federally-funded benefits since.

The actual number of affected people has risen from the initial estimate of 37,000 affected persons to somewhere between 42,000 and 45,000 people, according to the N.C. Employment Security Commission. It’s expected to grow by up to 2,100 people each week.

Zemcik doesn’t know where she’ll be living after she gets evicted in coming days, and hopes a church friend can take her in. Living with her nearby family isn’t an option.

This morning, Zemcik went to Crisis Ministry Assistance in Charlotte in hopes that they could help tide her over until the extended benefits are reinstated by the state legislature. Her parents filled up her gas tank so she could drive there to ask for help.

The assistance center said they couldn’t help since she has no income coming in and they’ve exhausted their homelessness prevention funds, Zemcik said.

“It’s so unbelievable that I can’t even put it into words anymore,” Zemcik said. “You go to get help and then you don’t even qualify for help.”

Zemcik said she’s out of options and hope legislators move quickly to help her and thousands of others.

“I don’t know what else I can do,” she said. “At least I know I’ve done everything in my power, applied to every job I can.”

9 Comments

  1. kadenn

    May 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    It is so sad that our legislators are playing politic games with family lives. Eviction notices, the power company, the gas company does not care if you are Republician or Democrat, they see us all the same. This is unreal and every day, every week the number gets larger. Why can’t these people act as though they have some moral values. How many more stories can you read about people losing what little they have left. Please help these people!!

  2. Nonanonymous

    May 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    It’s even more sad that the socialist welfare state is bankrupting our society. There are tough choices to make in life. Teaching a person to fish is more important than giving a person a fish. The American Indian is a case in point. On one side of the mexican border, native americans live the way they have for hundreds of years, it’s a tough life. On the other side, they live on reservations and paid not to work. On the american side of the border, there’s statistically significant higher obesity, alcoholism, drug addiction, domestic violence, and a host of other social problems.

    These chronically unemployed people only have the state to blame for their predicament, by enabling their dependency. When public spending contracts, as it must, how will these people live? By increasing taxes on productive society? I have news for you, productive society is a dying breed as federal deficit spending continues to soar, and the top one percent of households accumulate more wealth, and corporations pay little to no taxes. A US Constitution balanced budget amendment and tax reform would go a long way, but probably not in time to keep the sheriff’s from locking out Zemcik.

  3. Jim

    May 23, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Once again. This whole thing is going as planned. They don’t care about sad stories, it’s all about power & respect. We just first line fighters on the line. They wanna her Bev scream and moan and cry like an s&m game. Ha ha. Don’t matter til she bow down and stay in her place. I don’t know if she really can win either way she vote now. Sad.
    But. It’s all fun and games til someone go all Arizona on a few of dem. And I know others have been thinking about it. As bad as it may sound. But tell that to ol girl in charlotte.

  4. Jim

    May 23, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    U just lost everything.. With no notice. And you hear you lost family members in the bad storms that’s sweeping across the country.
    And you see one of them at the red light, What do you do?
    Ha ha.
    Might as well , why not!!!!

  5. melvin

    May 23, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I been home for only 4 yrs after serving my country and living in another country after getting out. I’m not as bad as Christy Zemcik and many others. After getting my first first back in 2007 after returning back to the States. I was laid off in 2009, and been looking ever since. I got hired last week but did not have the gas to get to work the job was a 20 min drive i was struggling to scrape up enough money for gas but to no avail. Today i had to call in to let them know i don’t have gas to get to work. Today i found myself begging to keep this job. But unfortunately they let me go cause i was not able to worke it last Monday first day at work. I wanted to cry. I have a wife to feed and i lied to her about the job didn’t want her to worry. It is ashame that people can play games with peoples lives. A lot of us are trying our hardest. I’m use to difficulties and adapting but this is getting out of hand. I’m a former Marine, i hate what the politicians are doing to their fellow man. What happen to the camaraderie looking out for one another. There is nothimg but selfish ambitions and greed. Your own people are hurting and you don’t lift a finger to help.

  6. jk

    May 23, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Nonanonymous you are amazing. I hope to meet you someday and eat a live baby at the gates of hell with you. Hail Satan. You rock.

  7. mike

    May 23, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    PUT IT BACK THIEF !!!!!!!!

  8. melvin

    May 23, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    I been home for only 4 yrs after serving my country and living in another country after getting out. I’m not as bad as Christy Zemcik and many others. After getting my first job back in 2007 after returning back to the States. I was laid off in 2009, and been looking ever since. I got hired last week but did not have the gas to get to work the job was a 20 min drive i was struggling to scrape up enough money for gas but to no avail. Today i had to call in to let them know i don’t have gas to get to work. Today i found myself begging to keep this job. But unfortunately they let me go cause i was not able to work same thing last Monday first day at work. I wanted to cry. I have a wife to feed and i lied to her about the job didn’t want her to worry. It is ashame that people can play games with peoples lives. A lot of us are trying our hardest. I’m use to difficulties and adapting but this is getting out of hand. I’m a former Marine, i hate what the politicians are doing to their fellow man. What happen to the camaraderie looking out for one another. There is nothimg but selfish ambitions and greed. Your own people are hurting and you don’t lift a finger to help.

  9. […] in, and are facing evictions, foreclosures or going without food, medicine and electricity. (Go here to see an update on a Charlotte woman who is facing eviction, or go to http://www.ncpolicywatch/jobless […]