Portraits of America's Recession

"There may be as [many] as 300 people on the city side, and as many as 180 public safety people, police and fire and that is in addition to the ones that we have already not filled, back filled with jobs," Harrington said.

Seven cadets graduate from the police academy next week, and there are no badges waiting for them. And the already-thin fire department could get cut in half, leaving only 91 firefighters to patrol the entire city.

"My husband and I are both firefighters," said Heather Dutin, an eight-year veteran of the Brockton Fire Department. "We both got hired together, so if we get laid off, if they lay off our entire class, we get laid off together. And you know it is tough when you have a mortgage. We have three kids, so what are we going to do?"

Homeless Student Can Warm Up at School

Brockton's public schools are scrambling to figure out how to cut $20 million from the budget without sacrificing learning for students like Rondell Best, an 18-year-old homeless senior at Brockton High who finds joy at school.

"It is an escape," he said. "I have some place where I feel comfortable and it is warm."

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