Atlanta

‘We’re going to be sleeping on the streets’: Group gathers to protest end of federal UI benefits

ATLANTA — People frustrated with Gov. Kemp’s decision to end federal benefits are protesting Friday morning outside of the Georgia Department of Labor.

Federal benefits will end on Saturday, though state benefits will continue.

Channel 2′s Kristen Holloway was at the agency’s headquarters where people camped out with tents and sleeping bags to deliver the DOL a message.

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“This is where we’re going to be with the end of the federal benefits,” Lauren Crace said. “We’re going to be sleeping on the streets, literally.”

Crace helped organize the overnight protest against the labor commissioner and the governor for ending federal unemployment benefits early.

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Crace is one of and estimated 166,000 people who only qualify for federal benefits and all those payments will stop after this week.

“The jobs I have been able to find in my area all pay significantly less than I made previous, and it would be tough to live on,” Crace said.

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Labor Commissioner Mark Bulter says the decision to end benefits is about addressing a labor shortage.

“We’re hoping it’s going to motivate more people to rejoin the workforce and take these really good jobs we’re seeing out there,” Butler said. “We have over 230,000 job listings across the state in Georgia today.”