EDGEWATER, Colo. -- Before the unraveling, Selena Blanco and her family felt secure in their hold on middle class life in this bedroom community just west of Denver. She and her husband both held professional jobs in industries that seemed sheltered from trouble, his in technology, hers in health care. Together they brought home $100,000 a year, enough to allay concerns about paying the bills, let alone having to ask for help.
But over the last two years, both have lost their jobs. Her unemployment check ran out in the spring, leaving them to subsist on his jobless benefits alone, about $1,500 a month.
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