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Poverty Stalks The Suburbs

The Huffington Post

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. -- There's nothing Deidre Duffy would rather do than host a backyard barbecue for a few friends.

"I don't want anything fancy," Duffy, 53, said in an interview next to her black Weber grill. "Give me some charcoal and I'm going to shoot those flames about six feet high, and when they come down -- it's my favorite thing."

Not long ago, she imagined she'd be watching from the hammock with a belly full of grilled food as the sun set over her new back fence, and then in the darkness she'd keep warm by the fire pit with classic rock from the den wafting through the screen door.

Basic expenses went on credit cards, and Duffy suspects bad credit prevented her from getting a better job. A Demos survey of middle- and low-income Americans revealed nearly 10 percent said they'd been denied jobs due to bad credit last year. Duffy's certain that's happened to her on at least a few occasions. As evidence, she points to a letter she got from Capital One responding to her application for a call center job she'd held there more than 10 years earlier.

"Unfortunately based on information we have received you are not currently eligible for rehire," the letter said. Duffy hasn't got a criminal record, just a trail of debt and missed payments that help HR managers sift through surplus applicants in a slack economy.