Poverty In America: The Struggle To Get Ahead Despite the slow economic recovery, tens of millions of Americans are still struggling in poverty. They face many challenges that have only been aggravated by the recession. NPR's Pam Fessler looks at the struggles of families living in the nation's poorest city Reading, Pa., and innovative approaches in the fight against poverty in Oakland, Calif.

Support group members Pamela Travis (from left), Dominique Martin, Yovanda Dixon, Shanna Chaney and Ramona Shewl hold a meeting as part of the Family Independence Initiative. The Oakland nonprofit encourages low-income families to form small groups to help each other get ahead. Pam Fessler/NPR hide caption

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Struggling Families Lift Themselves Out Of Poverty

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A worker dismantles a mattress at a recycling facility in Oakland, Calif. The material will be used to make carpet products and proceeds will help support the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, a nonprofit that helps low-income families in Eugene, Ore. Pam Fessler/NPR hide caption

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Turning Trash Into Cash To Help Nation's Poor

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Shyanne (left) holds 1-year-old Makai, as Stepp checks to see if all of Shyanne's homework has been completed. Kainaz Amaria/NPR hide caption

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To Beat Odds, Poor Single Moms Need Wide Safety Net

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Devora Trapp, 24, picks up her 8-month-old son, Dardarius Taylor, late one evening at the Opportunity House's Second Street Learning Center, a 24-hour day care center for low-income families in Reading, Pa. Kainaz Amaria/NPR hide caption

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Cycle Of Poverty Hard To Break In Poorest U.S. City

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