Lola Lathon couldn’t afford to buy the leafy greens or lean meat displayed so alluringly at the grocery store. Instead, she ate cheap staples like white rice and potatoes, and occasionally went hungry for days before her next paycheck because she needed gas money to get to work
I first met Larraine when we both lived in a trailer park on the far South Side of Milwaukee. Fifty-four, with silvering brown hair, Larraine loved mystery novels, “So You Think You Can Dance” and doting on her grandson. Even though she lived in a mobile home park with so many code violations that city inspectors called it an “environmental biohazard,” she kept a tidy trailer and used a hand steamer on the curtains. But Larraine spent more than 70 percent of her income on housing — just as one in four of all renting families who live below the poverty line do. After paying the rent, she was left with $5 a day.