Tim Messenger has worked hard all his life – most recently as inventory manager for a Gaston County car dealer. He was laid off in January 2014, just as the bank foreclosed on his house and his divorce became final.

While looking for work, he lived in his car for 10 weeks. After two traffic accidents in 2015, related to poor vision brought on by undiagnosed diabetes, he lost the vehicle that was his home.

Without health insurance, Messenger got medical care from a free clinic and medicines from a free pharmacy in Charlotte. Now 56, he’d rather pay his own way, but his vision has worsened, he can’t drive and he can’t work. “Your safety net can just kind of get knocked out from under you,” he said.