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In September 2007 the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression hit America, leaving few aspects of daily life unscathed.  Economists estimated that 6.7 million Americans have lost their jobs since January 2008.  The housing market declined, the credit well dried up, and a spirit of malaise blanketed America.

In January 2009, Carolina Photojournalism students set out to document the human face of the economic crisis in North Carolina's Triangle region. Hardship and Hope features stories that show the recession's far-reaching impact on North Carolinians.  What unites each story--whether about foreclosure or family--is the human spirit. Though hard times cause suffering, they can be fertile ground for some of humanity's best acts - love and kindness.