This is what it looks like when you're part of the working poor.
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Make Room

When Henry was laid off three and a half years ago, his family was forced to leave their house.

The house they were renting had mold in the basement. Though Lisette was working two part-time jobs, they couldn't find another place to live.


GIFs via Make Room/YouTube.

They tried to access programs for people who needed help — but they didn't meet the requirements.

They searched for programs that could help but didn't qualify because they didn't have problems with substance abuse and had some income.

And the homeless shelters they looked at didn't provide for their needs because not all shelters are set up for families. Some wanted to split them up by gender.

Now, they're living in an apartment that doesn't feel like home and costs too much. More than half their income goes to rent and utilities.

Living paycheck-to-paycheck is pretty much standard operating procedure for millions of families in our country.

In fact, paying at least half of monthly income for rent is a reality for about 1 in 4 U.S. renters.

The Great Recession had a lot to do with this.

Roughly 6 million homeowners lost their homes through foreclosure since 2008, which put more pressure on the rental market. And beyond that, a lot of folks who were just getting their start in the working world (hello, 20-somethings) began their adult careers far behind where they should have been.

As of 2013, the typical renter's income had fallen by more than 10% since 2001 (after adjusting for inflation) while the median rent had increased by 5%.

And, according to Make Room, 9 million kids are on the brink of homelessness because their parents can barely afford to pay rent.

The thing is, this is not simply inevitable. It can be fixed.

That's good news for folks like Lisette and Henry.

Make Room is a nonprofit campaign for renters that is working to fix this problem by:

  • creating a network of companies, nonprofits, advocates, and policymakers to invest in affordable homes and advocate for change.
  • campaigning to change policies and increase both the affordability and development of rentals.
  • raising awareness among policymakers and the media about the economic squeeze renters face today.
  • telling the stories of people who rent and organizing forums where the conversations begin (or continue). This includes working with celebrities and songwriters who are committed to the cause and want to help spread the word.

Recently, Carly Rae Jepsen stepped up to help spread the word.

To bring in even more supporters and awareness, Make Room regularly holds concerts in homes like the Duartes'. Earlier this year, Jepsen stopped by to perform some of the biggest pop hits.

What a treat! Check out the whole concert!

Help support Make Room's efforts in 2016 for families like the Duartes and 11 million households in need.

To help Make Room do great stuff like pass initiatives in key places and increase the supply of affordable homes, check out their holiday challenge. It's a gift worth considering this holiday season.

Listen to the Duarte family's emotional story here. It might strike a chord:

Because everyone should be able to live in a safe, affordable home.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."