Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (with Kids) in America tells the author’s brief but very painful summer of homelessness, with three children, one still in diapers, in a small New England town. She works, hard, as a waitress but doesn’t seem to be able to accumulate enough for a deposit on a rental, so she knits together a life of sleeping in her car, getting her sympathetic coworkers to check on the kids in the evenings, and carefully considered purchases of groceries and showers.
It’s remarkable that her efforts to get public assistance promptly fail with not much effort from the social workers to provide real help. (And after all, her main requirement is that down payment, not a lifetime of handouts.) But the best part of the story are the kids’ stories — showing once again that children can be surprisingly resilient, at least for a summer, and at least with one fiercely loving, if occasionally misguided, parent.