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The numbers spray-painted on the front of this house in the Lost Valley neighborhood in Manville, N.J., indicate that it was bought as part of a federal disaster program. The program uses federal and local money to purchase houses that have flooded multiple times and permanently turn the lots into green space to reduce flood risk. Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

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Claire Harbage/NPR

McCollum teaches at Columbia Central High School in Tennessee. After she was told her TEACH Grant paperwork was late, her grants were converted to loans. Stacy Kranitz for NPR hide caption

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Stacy Kranitz for NPR