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      Extended unemployment benefits set to expire

      Thousands of people across Michigan will be losing their emergency unemployment benefits next week, and that has forced some northern Michigan charity organizations to prepare for the expected rise in need.

      5,000 people across northern Michigan and more than 43,000 people across Michigan are expected to lose their emergency unemployment benefits on December 28. This is associated with the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program.

      â??This is a very difficult climate but again what's misleading is yes, there are a lot of people unemployed, but there are lots of opportunities and we have to work at... getting people to transfer those skills that they have from their former employment to a new opportunity,â?? said Jane Butzier, Northwest Michigan WORKS! Operations Manager.

      According to US Senator Debbie Stabenow federal unemployment coverage started in 2008 and has been reauthorized several times. Because extended unemployment benefits will end next week, thousands will be wondering what's next.

      â??The best thing you can do is continue to look and keep making your contacts and getting assistance to finding employment.â??

      As the end of extended benefits nears, some folks may be short on money this holiday season. The Father Fred Foundation is making itself available to those who need some extra help.

      â??The request for assistance is very high and as a system we work with public monies and charitable monies to keep people in their homes, to keep basic needs provided and that's the system that's already doing as much as it can,â?? said Pastor Jim Holwerda from the Father Fred Foundation. â??By reducing unemployment benefits or by not extending the benefits would be very difficult to deal with.â??

      If an extension is not passed, more than 86,000 people in the state will lose their coverage in the first six months of 2014, according to Senator Stabenow's office.