05/05/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Kidney Cancer, Medical Bills Force Washington Man Into Homelessness

As part of our Bearing Witness 2.0 project, the Huffington Post is rounding up local stories of formerly middle-class families who are now struggling to stay afloat.

The story of a 49-year-old Mike Pyles is indicative of the larger problem in Bellingham, Wash. -- formerly middle-class people who now are homeless or face homelessness because of foreclosure, medical bills or other economic hardships.

The Western Front Online briefly tells Pyles' story. He was diagnosed with renal cancer in 2004 and had to pay significant out-of-pocket expenses to save his life. Over $230,000 later, he now has nowhere to live and has been homeless for the past four years.

Gail de Hoog of the Whatcom County Health Department says there are over 1,300 people in the county.


Florida is encouraging the poor and uneducated to buy more lottery tickets, according to an article in Tampa Bay Online. Lottery officials want customers to be able to buy tickets in more places, including restaurants and Wal-Mart.

From 2008-2009, Floridians spent $4 billion dollars on lottery tickets. About half of that money came from the poor/uneducated demographic, whom a state-conducted study called "Thrill Seeking Dreamers."