As part of its Bearing Witness 2.0 project, the Huffington Post is rounding up a few of the best local stories of the day.
Sandra Ingram's health insurance from her former employer will expire in July, reports Davenport, Iowa's KWQC. She survived breast cancer, but found out months ago that her cancer came back, and has spread to her bones and liver. Come July, she is worried that she will be uninsurable; her cancer will be deemed a pre-existing condition. Ingram does not qualify for Medicare.
"We don't have a limitless amount of resources," said her husband, Jim. "We have what most people would have, a small nest egg and a home we are still purchasing."
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati saved the home of Frank and Karen Jennings and has been helping other families stay out of foreclosure, reports Rock Armon of Akron, Ohio's Beacon Journal. The bank's Preserving the American Dream program gave the couple and their three children over $2,000 to put towards mortgage payments, and enrolled the couple in financial counseling courses. ''The financial aid was great, but the credit counseling classes...I can't even measure how helpful that was,'' said Frank, 38.
The high school sweethearts fell behind on their bills after a brief layoff last year, and appealed to the East Akron Neighborhood Development Corp, which has saved the homes of 42 local families. Dozens others have received free counseling, and learned to cut out little expenses -- like morning coffee or chips with lunch -- that can add up to hundreds of dollars over the year.
Sandy Wells of the Charleston Gazette interviews an out-of-work cowboy who has started to teach community kids how to box. Roy Smyth, 52, has been unemployed since July, when the coal mine where he worked in Samples, W.V., closed. Before that he was a cowboy in British Columbia, herding cattle on horseback and living on the range. "We love it here," Smyth maintained, "I just wish there was work."
Since July, he has been doing odd jobs for cash and started boxing education for youth. "We do Hooks for Books to expose high school kids to boxing," he said. "The high schools compete against each other at the Civic Center. Any profits go to honor a special teacher or to buy books or to a small scholarship." Smyth is confident that things will get better, and dreams of opening up a bed and breakfast.
Residents of New York City public housing are unemployed at a much higher rate than the city as a whole, reports Cindy Rodriguez of WNYC. City-wide unemployment has been above the national average for months, but city councilwoman Letitia James said that, at one set of housing projects in Brooklyn, fewer than half the residents have a job. "The residents of public housing need services," she said, "they need jobs, they need to be connected to all the development that is literally happening in their backyard and they have not been."
A new nonprofit organization in Portland, Ore., has started a pet food bank, reports Jacques Von Lunen of the Oregonian. The Pongo Fund' s new facility provides kibble for the needy, and is planning to pass out up to eight tons of pet food each month. "We are so thrilled," said Pam Bartel, who lost her home to foreclosure when her husband lost his job, and was worried about losing their two pets. "We can come back in two weeks, they told me," she said. "That makes me want to cry."
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