Smith Family: 2012 (05:03)
Nine year old Brittany Smith’s dad lost his job, and is concerned with paying bills; she describes cold showers and losing toys when their storage rent went unpaid. She discusses employment with her father as he applies for jobs; her brother Roger worries that they will be evicted again. (Credits)
Hagwood Family: 2012 (04:59)
Kaylie Hagwood lives with her mother and brother Tyler in Stockton, Iowa; she is regularly hungry. The household income is $1,480 a month, not enough for food or gas after paying $1,326 on bills. Her and her best friend collect cans for money; see them explore their partly abandoned town.
Davis Family: 2012 (04:03)
Jasmine and Johnny Davis live at the Salvation Army shelter in Davenport, Iowa. Their father once had a construction business; he discusses the housing recession and lack of work. They lost their house and many possessions; the children cannot be left alone in the shelter and must commute daily with their parents.
Rising Costs (03:41)
Kaylie discusses impacts of increasing gas prices on her household; Tyler gives up money earned from mowing grass for fuel and bills. Kaylie does not want to move, as it requires foregoing friends and her dog. Her mother despairs, asserting that moving into a motel is their best option.
Finding Sustenance (04:03)
See Brittany at the Food Bank; she describes receiving food from her school's Nutrition Club. Her mother is pregnant; her parents have $64 in the bank and do not want to abort or adopt out. Roger misses internet most, recalling fantasy games as means of escape.
Making Sacrifices (03:35)
Kaylie must abandon her favorite dog; see the intake process at the shelter. She attempts stoicism, but sobs, similarly affecting her mother. The family moves into a poorly accommodated motel room.
Living Conditions (06:28)
Johnny describes being bullied for being poor; Jasmine is embarrassed by their housing. Johnny shows off his grades; education as means to escape poverty. Kaylie discusses motel life, wishing for better; she eats canned vegetables when hungry.
Desiring Better Lives (04:06)
Johnny hopes to play football, but his parents cannot afford equipment. The Smiths have a baby boy; Brittany describes a dystopian future for the infant and economy. Kaylie explains that she cannot go into school until they are moved out of the motel; she wants to avoid crime by getting the perfect job.
Hagwood Family: 2017 (03:47)
Kaylie describes moving from trailer, to duplex, then house. Tyler discusses their improved but poor lifestyle; he recalls his mom's rigorous work schedule, making it easy for him to drop out of school. Their mother and providing grandmother have been diagnosed with cancer; Kaylie expresses cynicism and familiarity toward negative events.
Smith Family: 2017 (04:18)
Fifteen year old Brittany enjoys dying her hair; 19 year old Roger works to provide for the family. Their little brother is autistic; they help educate and raise him. She describes getting bullied for being poor, and escaping through art; she still worries about the money and the future.
Davis Family: 2017 (04:58)
Jasmine lives in a hotel with her family; she describes transferring from schools and its impact on her grades. Johnny recalls going to jail as a wake-up call, and moving in with his grandmother; he has a job and plans to attend Louisiana State University to pursue his football dream.
Future Hopes (02:46)
Tyler Hagwood goes back to High School, recalling his mother's struggles without a diploma. Jasmine pragmatically wishes for her own room; Brittany wants a better life for her children. Kaylie hesitantly expresses hope for her future; she does not want to end up like her mom.
Credits: Poor Kids (01:02)
Credits: Poor Kids
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