- Associated Press - Monday, March 31, 2014

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (AP) - It could happen.

You could work a lifetime in the cold, hard north and save enough cash to retire to the Ozarks.

You could get settled in your Arkansas home and then become very ill.

A daughter could put her life on hold to come and care for you.

She could marry a fellow who turns out to be a loser. They could give you grandchildren.

You could die.

Your daughter’s husband could get into trouble with the law.

On his way to prison, he could leave your daughter consumed by fear, in financial ruin and hopelessly behind on mortgage or rent payments. He could leave her without transportation.

It could happen. Your daughter and the kids could become homeless.

That scenario played out at least once last year for one woman and her children who found refuge at Gamma House in Mountain Home. A different set of hard knocks played out for 120 other women - most with children - who also found refuge and counseling at the transitional shelter.

Gamma House has been serving homeless women and children for 23 years, last year on a budget of $88,000.

Ashley Clark, 26, has three sons ranging in age from 3 to 8 years.

She left an ex-husband in prison in Michigan six years ago to move to rural Izard County to care for her father, who had a malignant brain tumor.

“I’m a take-charge kind of person,” Clark told The Baxter Bulletin (http://bit.ly/OKaB0o). “I knew I didn’t want to be with my husband anymore, and someone had to take care of Dad. So, I did.”

Her father died. She married again. The marriage failed.

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