Welder and student, 20, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
My dad lost his job over a year ago because he was having frequent health problems. He cashed out his retirement to help us keep up on our bills, but his retirement is gone now. We are on the verge of losing our home to foreclosure and we have collectors calling us daily. My dad often has to go down to the phone company to try to convince them to keep our utilities on because we can't afford to pay the bill. We haven't had health insurance since my dad lost his job and my mom's employer doesn't offer health insurance. I am going to college right now and rely on student loans to pay for my tuition. I use some of that loan money to pay the bills for my family so that they don't have to get a high-interest cash advance to buy food for us or pay the bills. With the income of my part-time job added, my parents are barely above the poverty level so we don't qualify for any assistance programs. Right now there are few jobs and there is a lot of competition for jobs because we are having another paper mill close down in our area. I think we are losing something like 500 jobs this spring. Wisconsin Rapids is a small town that relies on the paper industry, so this is a major setback for our community as a whole.From my point of view, I do not know what our family will do if we lose our home. We have borrowed about as much money as we can and we have asked for people to do us favors for too long. This is our story.NEXT: Brandy Regan: Fighting a losing battle