DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) briefed the media Tuesday about phase two of its continued assistance rollout.
While the department did provide some answers, people trying to make ends meet say the solutions aren’t coming fast enough.
Things were going well for Louis LaBella and his son Louis Jr. until last March when they were laid off. They had to go on unemployment and now, the LaBellas say sources of help have been few and far between.
“It got extended until December, then it ran out on the 26th of December and we’ve gotten nothing since then — just that, ‘We have a ticket and we will get back to you,'” LaBella Sr. said.
The LaBellas have been calling the Conversion Call Center for help for weeks now.
“That call center answered 8,530 calls since phase two went live. They were open over the weekend for us. The average wait time over the weekend was just over 50 minutes. Yesterday was our busiest day and that call center averaged 1.5 hours,” said Phil Spesshardt of CDLE.
While labor leaders acknowledged the slow pace of the call center, the best they could tell people waiting on assistance is to keep waiting.
“We are still working to increase the number of staff that are within our own CDLE call center to provide those call-backs. We also understand that’s not a good answer. People are waiting weeks and being told 21 days until they get to the ticket. I wouldn’t want to be waiting that long, you wouldn’t want to be waiting that long and I’m sure a claimant doesn’t want to be waiting that long,” Spesshardt said.
LaBella Sr. has been waiting for assistance since the beginning of February. His son has been waiting since the end of the December. Not only do they not want a wait, they say they can’t afford it. We asked LeBellas Jr., what would that money mean to you?
“That [money] would mean everything. That would mean everything. That would mean we would have a place to sleep, food in the fridge, pay our bills. Rent-a-Center calls us constantly. We wouldn’t even have a place to sit. It’s like, come on, just let us pay our bills,” LaBella Sr. said.
CDLE leaders said they are working on a fix in the system for people who have been waiting for payments since the Dec 27. They hope to have that fix done by Thursday, Feb. 25.