The Crisis of the Near Poor

Tamar and Victor Guerra support three sons on her income as a factory worker and his as a street vendor.

They rent a two-bedroom apartment in the northern outskirts of New York City. They don't receive welfare. They struggle day to day, unprotected by union membership and vulnerable to any crisis — a layoff, divorce, illness — that could hurtle them into poverty. Meanwhile their sons are trapped in underperforming schools and sorely missing the supervision of