By Jeremy Ross

CHICAGO (CBS) — Another problem surfaced at IDES, but this time the stopgap solution comes from a friend.

CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reported Monday on where that assistance comes from and why it might sound familiar to our viewers. It’s a story of a man who fought unemployment problems with some help.

“Education and hair has been my thing for almost 20 years,” said Jessie Contreras.

But early in the pandemic, that, like so many things, was put on hold for Contreras. His roommate is Tim Roethlisbeger. He was let go of his job back in March.

“I got to play with makeup all day. That was basically my dream job,” he said.

He field for unemployment, but his employer contested it. That was appealed bogged down in the legal process for months, all while Roethlisberger’s health made it impossible to work, and in a pandemic, potentially life threatening.

“I’m a Type 1 diabetic,” he said. “I was diagnosed with a kidney disease and it’s since just kind of gotten into renal failure so now I’m on dialysis.”

He added, “IDES sent me some paperwork saying in order to qualify for benefits, I would either have to return to my job or or find a new job and work there a minimum of four weeks. And I was already in renal failure.”

In an effort to raise money for his ailing roommate, Contreras set up a GoFundMe account. And his hair clients, friends, and strangers helped raise thousands while IDES raised frustration and blood pressure levels.

Turns out the last time CBS 2 met Contreras, he was helping a complete stranger. Back in 2018, he rescued a man off the Blue Line tracks. CBS 2 reported on that incident at the time.

Roethlisberger’s IDES train trip included six months of appeals, with a judge finally ruling in June he would be eligible for unemployment and backpay. In August he was asked to fill out more forms, with additional forms filled out last month, but his funds and unemployment train has yet to roll into the station.

“I still don’t have the money that I’m due,” lamented Roethlisberger.

IDES said it could not comment on this story due to privacy issues. Roethlisberger hopes his situation will be resolved soon, adding that without a resolution, making rent in a month or two will be nearly impossible.

Also From CBS Chicago: