For many Ahwatukee Foothills residents, suddenly struggling to make ends meet is something they haven't faced since their college days, and something they never thought they would have to worry about.

But the economic downturn has turned lives upside down with layoffs, eliminated bonuses, companies closing, spouses suddenly out of work and investments plummeting.

"Most people live paycheck to paycheck and it only takes one hiccup to create a problem," said Karen Pfander, outreach pastor at Mountain Park Community Church.

"I was getting an increased amount of calls from people who were in trouble, mostly with mortgages, and they were saying ‘I don't know what to do,'" said Pfander.

She said that even in Ahwatukee Foothills many families are dependent on two incomes and that if one person is laid off the remaining income just isn't enough.

In an effort to find information, and hopefully solutions, the church and the city of Phoenix have teamed up to present a series of workshops aimed at helping people who are suddenly feeling the economic crunch and don't know where to turn.

The next one is Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at the church, 24th Street and Pecos Road, where staff from the city's Neighborhood Services Department will discuss options to foreclosure.

For many, who attend have attended previous workshops, the information is all new and something they had no idea existed.

"These are not people who know the system and they are often at a total loss. And because they don't know what to do they often wait too long before asking for help," Pfander said.

But, she said, with information and after checking on resources people can make an informed decision on how best to proceed.

The workshops are open to anyone who wants to learn more.

"These are not just for people in our church. They are for people of Ahwatukee, Chandler wherever people have questions," Pfander said.

For more information, contact Pfander at (480) 759-620-0 or




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