Capital Area United Way President Teresa Kmetz knows our unemployment situation is bleak.
"It's absolutely scary," she says.
She also knows it's about to get even bleaker, once the federal unemployment extensions start to run out.
"I'm very concerned about what this means for local charities, already having record numbers of inviduals at our doors asking for assistance," Kmetz says. "We are coming critically close to having to turn people away from receiving services."
February 28th-- the day the extensions start to exhaust-- is this weekend. And so far, there's nothing concrete in Washington to make sure that doesn't happen. Governor Jennifer Granholm says the state is not prepared for the burden.
"The implications for safety net of Michigan are horrific. What happens is people lose their ability to put food on the table or to pay basic amount of mortgage," the governor says. "I'm hopeful the Senate will act either today or tomorrow to [extend it]. It's a six-month extension the House has already passed. The Ssenate needs to do it for people all across the country," she says.
Thursday, Rep. Mark Schauer, (D) Michigan, is introducing another bill to extend unemployment insurance until the end of September. But time is not on Michigan's side, and if people lose their last source of income, Kmetz says it will be on the shoulders of their neighbors to step in.
"This is a very generous community. I'd encourage people to support their local communities and local charities," she says.