The Advocate: Scraping by: The paycheck-to-paycheck life

NEWARK – Struggle; it's all Tonya Cooper has ever known.

Tonya grew up in Little Texas on the south end of Newark, one of nine children. The family lived in a remodeled boxcar with no running water or furnace. They would haul water from a relative's house for makeshift baths and, during winter, rely on space heaters.

"We struggled. Struggling is not something I'm fond of, but I've done it all my life," Tonya said. "Boy, was it cold sometimes in the winter."

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