She had always been the one her family turned to when they needed help, and she didn’t hesitate to give it. She helped pay for weddings and rent. She made room for her nephew when her brother died of AIDS. And even now in her 50s, she took in a baby that wasn’t her own.
But help was easier to give when the economy was booming and Ladson was bringing home $4,000 a month as a mechanic at Amtrak. Even an injury on the job turned into a blessing in disguise when she collected a $700,000 settlement that allowed her to build her dream home in Clinton and help her longtime partner start her own hair salon.
Then the recession hit, and fate twisted the other way. A slip on the stairs of her home has kept her out of work since the spring. The hair salon struggled to keep customers. Ladson was forced to sell her car and fell behind on her mortgage. Foreclosure notices began replacing dinner invitations.
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