Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Recession leaves a Hillsborough family in tatters

Michelle Brown and daughter Shelly, 16, look through Shelly’s Bloomingdale High School yearbook, which featured an article about the family’s plight.


Michelle Brown and daughter Shelly, 16, look through Shelly’s Bloomingdale High School yearbook, which featured an article about the family’s plight.

VALRICO — She feels she's right back where she started.

"Only worse," said Michelle Brown.

Eight months ago, Brown's husband, Greg, lost his plumbing job just after the family moved into the first home they've ever owned.

Desperate for work, Michelle finally found a job as a photographer. For a while, it seemed like things were going to be okay.

"It felt like we were going to make it out of this," she said.

Then she was let go. Michelle recently qualified for food stamps, but she's still waiting on unemployment benefits. She said the company told her she hadn't worked long enough to qualify.

Another fallout from the recession? Her marriage. While job hunting online, she said, her husband met another woman. Now the Browns are separated.

Michelle hopes to keep the house for her two children, but the bills are piling up.

She keeps the air conditioning set high and the lights off, anything to reduce spending. All her savings are gone.

The family plans to sell whatever they can to stay afloat.

The 40-year-old is determined to save the house, but she said her husband stopped paying the mortgage two months ago.

"All my life, all I wanted was a home," Brown said, "and I'm doing everything I can to keep it."

Times staff writer Sarah Hutchins can be reached at or (813) 661-2443.

Faces of the recession,

an update

In September, we told you the story of how 11 Hillsborough County residents were faring in the worst recession of our times. Some struggled; others thrived. Now, as the economy begins to show signs of improvement, we check in with some of those residents for an update on their situations.

—Times Editor

Recession leaves a Hillsborough family in tatters 06/17/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 3:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Two boys in critical condition after Largo crash


    LARGO — A 7-year-old boy was thrown from a car in a head-on crash on Starkey Road, and both he and a 6-year-old boy were in critical condition Sunday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  2. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle


    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  5. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators


    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.