A few miles away from Cheryl, another mom finds herself in the opposite situation. Terry, a 44-year-old single mother, is steadily moving up in social status.

Terry spent most of her life living in a low-income neighborhood, but then a voucher from a federal housing program lifted her out of poverty and into a middle-class community. "The neighborhood that I walk through is like a whole different planet," she says. "I like the serenity I have out hereā€¦the peace of mind."

With steady work as a deli clerk at a nearby grocery store, Terry is able to pay her bills and enjoy simple luxuries like a walk-in closet. "I don't hear car sirens and bickering and talking under my window all night long," she says. "I sit on my balcony and listen to the birds."


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