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2 towns, 2 storms and America’s imperiled poor

By Zack Coleman & Daniel Cusick ~ E&E News ~

Sheril Pritchett can’t get out of her room.

It’s not because of damage from Hurricane Florence. Her apartment in Fayetteville, N.C., was spared, somehow, from the historic storm that dumped 30 inches of rain in some parts of the state. She’s not stranded by her earlier hip replacements, either.

Pritchett is bed-ridden by stress.

She, like many in the path of Florence, lives in federally subsidized housing. The 59-year-old followed instructions to evacuate, shuttling 110 miles with her husband to the nearest hotel they could find. Six nights, $600. It wasn’t her emergency money, but it was her savings for a house. She’s back now. Back to square one.

Except that it’s not really the beginning, at all. Far from it. Moving too much is a way of life for many residents in low-income housing. Pritchett has been in her one-bedroom place for just over a year. It’s her fourth since uprooting in 2008 to be closer to her oldest daughter, who was having health issues.

Every time she saves for a house of her own, something takes her cash. Then come the boxes, then the relocation.

Pack. Unpack. Repeat.

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