Formerly Homeless, Dad Still Struggles With Economy

Last Christmas, David Brown and his family were struggling to stay afloat. David spent most of 2010 unemployed, living in a homeless shelter in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife and four kids. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz checks back in with Brown to see how things are going for him and his family.

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GUY RAZ, HOST:

Last Christmas, I spoke with David Brown in Magna, Utah. He was one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who became newly homeless during the economic crisis. He spent most of 2010 unemployed and living in a homeless shelter with his wife and four young children. At one point, the family slept in a van. Here's what he told me last year.

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DAVID BROWN: You know, there's a lot of things you look at in life and there's a lot of times in life where you will look at a situation, and that's the first thing that comes into your head, and that happened to me, you know? And I can honestly say that as far as being homeless, I was one of those skeptics that believed it will never happen to me.

RAZ: Well, David Brown is now back with us for an update. David, thanks for joining us.

BROWN: Not a problem.

RAZ: At that time, you had recently moved your wife and your four children out of a homeless shelter. You'd just gotten a job. How are you doing now?

BROWN: Well, we're hanging in there now. I am currently divorced, so things have kind of gone downhill in other areas. The economy's still pretty much what it's been. But now, we're just hanging in there, just working as much as we can and trying to survive.

RAZ: You and your wife were divorced this past year?

BROWN: Yeah. We divorced about seven months ago.

RAZ: I'm sorry to hear that. And how about your kids? How are they doing?

BROWN: They're doing OK. I get them - I see them every weekend.

RAZ: Where are they living?

BROWN: They're living with their mom.

RAZ: And you still have a steady job right now?

BROWN: Mm-hmm.

RAZ: And how is that going?

BROWN: It's going all right. It's still tough with the economy because, you know, anything could happen. You know, people are looking for jobs right and left, so anybody is replaceable. So just do your job, do it right, and don't give them a reason to look elsewhere.

RAZ: David, to what extent do you think the economy and the fact that you guys were homeless for quite a long time had an impact on the breakdown of your marriage?

BROWN: You know, honestly, it was something that was years in the making. We just didn't realize it. We weren't wanting to face it. But it was the economy that had me basically have a nervous breakdown that finally broke the camel's back.

RAZ: Mm-hmm. Well, I know you're on your lunch break, David, so I'm going to let you go. That's David Brown in Magna, Utah. We last spoke with him on Christmas Day 2010. David, thank you so much for the update, and happy holidays to you.

BROWN: You too. Thanks.

RAZ: And David did also mention some good news. He's met someone new, and they are now engaged to be married. You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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