Listen to Adel's story. Audio Producer: Natasha Del Toro

The remains of Adel White Dog’s trailer, which burned down earlier that day due to an electrical fire that destroyed most of their belongings, except a family photo album Ramona, Adel’s daughter, found in the rubble. Adel, a dishwasher who supported her family on a minimum-wage salary at a local restaurant, lived in the trailer with her two daughters and grandchildren. Adel says even though it was condemned and the windows were all boarded up, “That’s what I owned. That’s the only thing I owned, the only thing I could call home.” It’s not the first time this happens to her. A few years ago, Adel lived in another trailer that caught fire, killing two of her grandchildren. This time, luckily, no one was hurt. One of her daughters, seventeen-year-old Ramona Three Legs, was at a pregnancy check-up when the fire broke out. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) donates condemned trailers to Native Americans in an attempt to solve the housing shortage on the reservation. Since the latest incident, the Tribal Housing Authority has relocated Adel’s family to another FEMA trailer.

  • Adel White Dog's grandchildren sleep in front of the burnt trailer as the family waits for help to arrive.

  • Ramona Three Legs stands in the remains of her family's burnt trailer. She was a pregnancy check up when the fire happened.

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"Included in this group [the underrclass] are individuals who lack training and skills and either experience long-term unemployment or are not members of the labor force, individuals who are engaged in street crime and other forms of aberrant behavior, and families that experience long-term spells of poverty and/or welfare dependency."

- The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy, by William Julius Wilson

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