Michelle Feliz, a single mother living in Boston, can’t afford day care for her one-year-old son. She can’t afford new clothes for her teenage daughter. Late last year, she applied for food stamps.
Unlike many Americans increasingly seeking public assistance, Feliz, 35, is employed. Yet what she earns in her job as a secretary does not cover even her most basic needs, leaving her scrambling to keep food on her table.
In the aftermath of the worst economic downturn since the Depression, much attention has been focused on the 15 million people who are officially out of work, yet even among those who have jobs, livelihoods and living standards have been substantially downgraded. Growing numbers of employed people live in near poverty, struggling to make ends meet.