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Charlotte Area

Unusually Long Line at Local Aid Agency

Crisis Assistance Development Director Doug Hartjes had an eye-opening drive to work. He says he'd never seen anything like it in his six years with the agency. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing. There were cars parked on the grass, cars parked on the sidewalk, cars parked across the street in a circle on the grass. People double parked. People standing outside all over the place." Hartjes says economic pressures such as job losses and the increasing cost of gas and food are taking a major toll on the working poor. He says in the past six months, the agency has seen 40-percent more people in need of emergency funds for rent, utilities and other necessities. Hartjes says the agency helped 100 people who were in danger of being evicted or having their utilities cut off. Crisis Assistance Ministry told the others to return the next day.