As the downturn persists, state unemployment figures remain grim, putting a strain on shelters and job seekers..
In the past few weeks, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness has been getting frantic calls from shelter providers being inundated with new pleas for housing help.
“They keep asking, ‘What is going on?’“ says Carol Walter, the coalition’s executive director.
One possible explanation involves what Walter calls the “trickle-down effect” of Connecticut’s recession-ravaged economy, the lousy job market and the 625 people per week who have now exhausted all their state and federal unemployment benefits.
The scenario goes something like this:
It was just about two years ago when this recession began gnawing huge chunks out of Connecticut’s labor force. Since the start of this economic disaster, this state has lost about 103,000 jobs and is only now, very slowly, beginning to see employment recover.
Congress approved repeated extensions of unemployment benefits, which now last 99 weeks. That means that those people who were laid off during the worst employment losses that began in the autumn of 2008 are now running out of benefits.