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Homelessness strikes some as economy staggers


They call each other brothers and sisters. They look out for and help one another. They are some of Wilmington’s homeless.

“I got my tent, my bed, my rugs and my water,” said Nigel Hanna. “We get water from here, we take showers and we cook on the grill.”

Hanna lives at a camp she and some friends and relatives made behind a warehouse. She said she is a certified nursing assistant who lost her job a few months ago, followed by her and her husband losing their house. Now, they live at the camp. “You could be right here. Nobody is no better than anybody else,” she said.

They all have their own pasts that brought them to this point. Al White said he was severely injured on a job site and has since had little luck finding employment. “That is what pretty much put me in this position – except for small, unskilled jobs,” he said. “I served three years in the service, I was in Vietnam for 13 months and I’ve applied for disability, but they’ve turned me down.”

They said they are pounding the pavement looking for work, but it’s not as simple as some may think. “A lot of people seem to think people are out here, people just don’t want to work, and that’s not true,” White added.

White said he has met very intelligent people in the homeless community. “People who were school teachers, were engineers, and they’ve had trauma in their lives and things have happened to them and this is where you end up sometimes.”

“I would have never thought I’d be in this situation. No, but see, that’s why you never say never,” said Hanna.

We have received calls from neighbors concerned about this homeless camp. And in fact, code enforcement has issued notices to the property owners to clean up the area.

We will have that part of the story Friday night.

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Story summary

videoThe state of the economy is forcing people to make life changes they never thought they would have to make; in some cases, losing their jobs and their homes. Meghan Packer met a group who is trying to make ends meet – after trading in a house for a tent.

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