Josh is one of the 1,274,100 unemployed citizens of California whose unemployment extension has expired. Like many long-term unemployed people living in Los Angeles, he has had difficulty securing a job after more than 10 months of applying for work.
Josh moved to Los Angeles almost 10 years ago, with dreams of working in the games industry. After 4 successful years of growth at a large video game publisher, he was released from his position due to redundancy during a corporate merger. Shortly after this happened, the economy collapsed. Unemployment, and the extensions it provided at that time helped him find reasonable housing, and a cost of living during a really rough period.
Josh found a few jobs after this time, and discovered a passion for creating content. Screenwriting and game design were passion projects that kept my sanity during the hard times, and provided a light at the end of a tunnel.
Eventually, a very kind friend offered Josh a position at his start-up company. He was tasked with many things he had never had experience doing: project management, marketing, travel arrangements, scheduling, brand management, customer service, office management, product management, social media management, internal workflow design, website design, database management/design... and so he took the title V.P. of Operations.
Things were great! The start-up was doing well, and in a twist of fate, he found himself talking on the phone for over 6 hours one night, and falling madly in love with a woman living thousand of miles away. Teresa O'Hara didn't just live in Chicago... she bleeds Chicago. After a few visits to one another's respective cities, they decided to move in together, but that proved difficult.
Josh had sworn an oath to himself not move away from southern California while until his daughter became an adult. So he would not be able to move to be with Teresa in Chicago. So, she sacrificed everything: job, friends, her city, and most importantly, her family... just to be with him. He swore a promise to provide for her during her rough transition... and promise which would soon be unintentionally broken.
While they struggled financially, they made ends meet. They were building a life together. Just when everything seemed to be looking up, yet another twist of fate surprised Josh. The start-up company took a big hit and downsized. Josh was released from his contract. He was immediately upset by the news and felt like he had disappointed his friend at the start-up, but was ultimately happy. He knew he left a strong infrastructure in place, and his salary would go toward keeping the business aloft.
Since that time, Josh has spent the last 10 months applying for jobs across southern California while thankfully making those same ends meet with the help of unemployment benefits. During the first few months, he attempted to find a more lateral position at another company in terms of responsibility, pay, and scope. HIs primary focus was on a long time dream to work at Riot Games on their record smashing game, "League of Legends". As time passed with no responses from so many applications, those dreams and goals began to diminish... less pay... less responsibility... He humbled himself, asking friends for help and assistance with getting "boost" into one of the companies they were employed at... but despite their generosity, still no luck. Less, less, less... Although things were looking grim, Josh knew he could still keep a roof over their head at least through Christmas 2013. Maybe even further with the unemployment extensions. They kept hope alive.
As the initial unemployment benefits expiration date loomed in late 2013, he found himself applying... everywhere. Application to Ralphs (Kroger), Taco Bell, a new Smart & Final... no reply. Entry level positions... no reply. Temporary holiday positions... no reply. He wasn't even getting replies from applications to spin signs on corners from Craigslist. He felt like he was in an awkward position: have lots of experience in technical fields, but lacking certification in said fields, and appearing over-qualified for retail, entry level, temp., and other jobs normally filled by teens fresh out of high school. Although Josh typically has a "keep hope alive" mantra during times of crisis, it was what happened next that was truly a breaking point for him.
Then the news broke that the government would not renew the federally funded unemployment benefit extension program... the very program that had carried Josh through tough times in his past. Josh was out of options.
Thanks to the kindness and generosity of immediate family, friends, and the infinite patience from their land-lord, Josh and Teresa made it through 2014 to this point:
We currently have accumulated a massive debt due to this unforeseeable govt. "hiccup". If I had received the extension as expected, I would have an additional $3600.00 in my accounts. If you hadn't noticed, that would easily cover the requested donation amount.
The current requested goal of $3500.00 would cover:
back rent, past-due bills, vehicle registration fees for Josh's car (smog check, DMV fees), fees associated with GoFundMe, and maybe even some food!
Rent is their most critical concern. With $2500.00 due on the 31st, and seemingly all sources of personal loans, credit cards, and pay-day loans have dried up and we just can't get our hand on this money we desperately need.
Unemployment Extension Status:
Should the unemployment benefits be reinstated, by the time I actually recieve the payment in (hopefully) late April, I estimate the value to be around $4800.00.
Tax Return Status:
Our combined tax returns would allow us an additional $1500.00 in money to allocate to our debt. We currently cannot file due to issues pertaining to the social security office. We have been ready to file, but been unable to do so for going on 8 weeks now. We hope to have the issue resolved as well, which will add into the loan program below as well.
Should the unemployment extension go through, and I receive the assistance I was expecting to have, it's my intention to use those funds to pay back the generous individuals helping us through this time of need. After you donate, just contact me through GoFundMe to let me know you would like the money returned to you and we will exchange information once the extension is processed, and tax returns filed. I'll even return your $1.00 donation if you like. If you're so inclined to simply wash your hands of this "loan" non-sense and are happy to simply donate to help us out, thank you very much!!!
I'm happy to announce that thanks to a very kind friend, I'll be starting a temporary Q.A. job starting Monday, 3/31, it's scheduled to last around 3 months, and the pay is good. It will really help us catch up, and although there is no guarantee I will retain a position after my contract expires, I was told the same thing when I got my first Q.A. job almost 10 years ago. Although this means we can continue living out here after I start the job, we are still in danger of losing the life we've built here in L.A.
To our family, extended family, friends, friends of friends, acquaintances, complete strangers, and everyone who can find even a single dollar, thought, or prayer, to keeping anyone's hopes and dreams alive through charity and compassion...
With every ounce of humility and gratitude Teresa and Josh can muster...
Josh Singleton and Teresa O'Hara
P.S. To members of the Chive, Geek & Sundry, League of Legends, and additional communities I have posted this in: I apologize for the bother. I know in some cases, this isn't really the place for this kind of stuff... but we're desperate. I know it's awkward, but please know I'm reaching out to the communities I'm a part of. Thanks for your support. :)
- Roseann Singleton
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