Tremeshia Wilson crossed the threshold with her shoulders tilted forward, as if pressed down by an invisible weight. She was pushing a wheelchair carrying her grandfather, who in his late 60s has lost a leg and his sight to the ravages of diabetes. Scampering ahead was her 3-year-old son. He was pulling the hand of her grandmother—the boy’s great-grandmother—who was having difficulty walking and needed a chair. The mother, granddaughter and college student bore a worried expression that seemed to hide her real age, 19.

“We need an attorney,” she said. But there was no money for that.

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