PUEBLO — As of September 6, all pandemic related unemployment benefits are expiring.
"It's kind of... not a black and white thing for me, but I mean I would appreciate more people coming to get a job here at Solar Roast cause we could use it," said Savannah Laboy, Regional Manager for Solar Roast Coffee in Pueblo when asked whether canceling the extra financial relief was the right decision.
"How are they expecting us to be able to move forward as an individual, or a family, or even as a nation, if we don't have each other's backs and build each other up at this time," said Amanda Scholtz, one of many people throughout Pueblo dependent on her unemployment.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pueblo has the highest unemployment rate in Colorado as of July 2021 at 8.6%.
Scholtz says she did not get on unemployment until March 2021 after leaving her job.
"I don't know what we're going to do. We just moved into this house not too long ago and I don't know how I'm going to pay bills, buy food, pay rent," said Scholtz.
As for Solar Roast Coffee, they are one of the many small businesses throughout Pueblo experiencing a staff shortage.
"A lot of people are wanting to do their own thing since COVID. I mean, they've come up with their dream job that they want. A lot of people started working from home and realized they want to do that more and that's great people are following their dreams, but it does make it a bit hard on the service industry," said Laboy.
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation - $300 a week, which was previously as high as $600 a week, as supplemental income.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment - Financial relief given to those who already used the extent of their state's unemployment benefits. In Colorado, this is up to 26 weeks.
- Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation - $100 a week to those who worked as both an independent contractor and employee
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance - This extended unemployment benefits to self-employed people and freelance workers.
Resources in Pueblo:
- Catholic Charities of Pueblo - Certain programs will offer financial aid for bills, such as rent and utilities.
- Pueblo Food Project - Offers frequent programs for free, locally sourced food
- Sunny Side Market - Free food market in Pueblo aiming to curb food scarcity
- Pueblo Housing Authority - Can offer vouchers and assistance with housing
*Note, some resources with nonprofits and other agencies may be limited due to high demand.