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Valley father of six slips through cracks waiting for job, unemployment help

Posted at 9:47 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 21:49:42-04

PHOENIX — Eddie Ellis, of Phoenix, is two months behind in rent.

His apartment complex worked with him for April, extending the due date to the 30th to allow time for his stimulus check to arrive. But he says it never came.

"Then I get a update saying that we mailed you a check on April 24." He later found it was sent to an old address.

Now much of his day is spent on the phone, with the IRS only to find out how to get the check reissued.

"They're not accepting phone calls," he says.

Ellis, a single father of six who shares custody with their mother, has been out of work since March 19. He says he was let go from a Valley warehouse position after falling ill during his 90-day probationary period.

He says he tried to power through, but the symptoms were too much.

"They tell me that I have a bacterial something in my lungs, liquid forming in my lungs and that I should stay home," he said.

Ellis believes it may have been COVID-19 but with no testing available at the time, there is no way for him to know for sure.

And right now, he says he's just trying to survive.

"I’ve sold two of my televisions. The one in my kids' room. The one in my bedroom. The game system that I had. Any form of entertainment honestly," he said. "I even had to pawn my laptop."

That money helped, but hoped by the point he would have a job offer, or his unemployment would have come through.

"I apply to just about every job I come across on Indeed," he said.

Under the federal CARES Act, Ellis should qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. But that program won't launch in Arizona until May 12.

"They (DES) just told me to sit tight and I should be receiving information in the mail," he said.

He also reached out Governor Ducey on social media.

"My notifications are on for Governor Doug Ducey on when he post anything to Twitter or anything like that. I instantly reply," he said. No response to that either.

Eddie says all he can do now is, "pretty much just prayer and hope."

Hope for just a little more time.

"Not having a home is my most concern. It’s like the most important thing for me and my family," he said. "To have somewhere to sleep at night and just have electricity. We don’t need much."