SHOREWOOD — Despite a promise of checks for those left unemployed, many have not seen relief from the government. A Shorewood small business owner and mother says she has less than $200 in her checking account and no idea when any more money will be coming in.
"I have $139, yep, that's where I'm at in my checking account," said Caroline Kreitlow, owner of Luxe The Salon.
Her salon has been shut down since before the Safer at Home order went into effect because salons were told to close earlier. She is now on her fifth week trying to get unemployment benefits.
"By week three, my status kept showing as pending. So weeks three, four, and five are now showing as pending," said Kreitlow.
Kreitlow is not pushing to stop the Safer at Home Order. Her sister battled coronavirus and ended up hospitalized for five days last month. She believes people need to stay home, but she needs help to do it.
And Caroline is not in her wait for benefits. On TMJ4 News' Facebook page, we asked people who are unemployed if they have received their unemployment checks.
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Some people say they received money without a problem.
"I filed the first week of April. Got my first check this week minus the extra. Hope next week is better!" wrote Alexandrea Medina in a Facebook comment.
"Husband applied after being laid off last month & got his first check last week," wrote Cheryl Thomas Johansen in a Facebook comment.
While others say, they are stuck waiting.
"Going on my 6th week with no benefits, because it's still under review from week 1. Haven't gotten through on the phone once since this all started. My boss has tried from his end, but nothing," wrote Melissa Land Sinkey in a Facebook comment.
"I've been trying to get my unemployment since March 16. This past Sunday was my 5th week submitting my claim. All it shows is my claim is pending. Tried to call unemployment and that was a joke. Always said they have the maximum people on hold for the day," wrote Sarah Bergmann in a Facebook comment.
"I'm going on week five too of no payments from unemployment it's completely bullcrap!!!" wrote Nicole Nummerdor in a Facebook comment.
According to Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development, since March 15, 426,313 people have filed for unemployment benefits. At times DWD says they are receiving up to 100,000 calls per hour, and their employees are working tirelessly to meet historic demands.
However, Kreitlow said she is almost out of money except for her retirement. And she knows she is lucky to have that.
"I am very fortunate, I am very blessed, but a lot of people don't have that, and this is where it is becoming incredibly frustrating," said Kreitlow.
She is waiting for her stimulus check, which she is receiving by mail. On top of that, she applied for the small business loans, BadgerCare for health insurance and Wisconsin FoodShare, to feed her family, all of which are still pending.
"It's starting to feel really hopeless. It's starting to feel even panicking, said Kreitlow.
There is some good news in possible relief for Kreitlow. The Village of Shorewood, where Luxe The Salon is located, passed a measure to give help to business owners. The business relief program was approved Tuesday night.
Full details of the program, including eligibility and application materials, will be on the Village and BID websites. Information regarding the program will also be mailed to current Commercial Occupancy Permit holders.
To apply for the CDA Emergency Business Assistance Grant Program, please contact Steph Salvia, Shorewood BID Executive Director, by email: Director@Shorewoodwi.com or by phone at (414) 202‐5754. The application deadline for assistance under this program will be May 4, 2020.