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Photos: Residents of Rowan County, North Carolina

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Russell Varner, 56, sits on the porch at a privately owned home for veterans on Park Avenue on Mon., Oct. 31, 2011, in Salisbury, N.C.

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Kevin Parham, 47, centre, talks with friends while eating dinner at Rowan Helping Ministries, a homeless shelter in Salisbury, N.C., on Mon., Oct. 31, 2011. "This is just a sidestep," Mr. Parham said. "Nothing lasts forever." After losing his job as a trucker in 2007 due to health problems, Mr. Parham has been laid off three times and moved to the shelter in June 2010. He will attend a local community college to become a machinist starting in January 2012.

JOHN W. ADKISSON/john w. adkisson The Globe and Mail

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Darlene Williams, 53, top, holds hands with VickyMadison, bottom, outside of Rowan Helping Ministries, a homeless shelter in Salisbury, N.C., on Mon., Oct. 31, 2011. "We're all family here," Madison said. "We hold each other up."

JOHN W. ADKISSON/john w. adkisson The Globe and Mail

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Darlene Williams, 53, centre, talks to people waiting in line for lunch at Rowan Helping Ministries, a homeless shelter in Salisbury, N.C., on Mon., Oct. 31, 2011. Ms. Williams worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse before losing her job and eventually moving to the shelter. She will soon be starting a new nursing job at a nursing home making $19 per hour.

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People's belongings sit in Rowan Helping Ministries, a homeless shelter in Salisbury, N.C., on Mon., Oct. 31, 2011. "We served 19 families last year, when anytime before that two would've been a lot.," said Kyna Foster, who serves as executive director at the shelter.

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