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(AJC) — When Erica Merriwether lost her accounting job at an Atlanta law firm in July 2008, she thought it wouldn’t take long to find a similar position.  She was wrong. After searching for months, instead of finding vacancies, she found other accountants who had lost their jobs as well. The year spiraled downward and the mother of  two lost her home and her car and, by the end of 2009, was living in a homeless shelter. “I got contract work here and there, for a couple of weeks, or maybe three, but it wasn’t enough,” Merriwether said.

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