"Give me some love, just give me some love," Gaviyonne Gibbons urges the toddlers who are already clambering all over her for another hug.
The ground room of her home in run-down north Philadelphia is bright with paintings and posters and a giant furry frog. After losing her job as a medical assistant, she struck out on her own and set up a day-care centre. One of the posters is headed "Emotions", and is full of young faces, sad, happy, puzzled.
I don't see one for "jubilation," but that is what shines from her face.
"I am so happy that my home is saved," Ms Gibbons says.
"Today, my home is saved. It's wonderful, wonderful, I have no complaints at all."
Ms Gibbons will not have to sell her home and lose her business despite falling behind on her payments, thanks to a programme run by Philadelphia's city government.
It began because in the City of Brotherly Love, Sheriff John Green refused to enforce the repossession and sale of homes when people fell behind with their mortgages. A thoughtful, quietly spoken man, he's been tough in pushing through this radical policy.
Sitting in the city's Jefferson Square Park, he tells me that the policy is vital - and obvious.
"A home is the major wealth factor for most people," he says.
"Not only does it represent wealth, it represents a personal status, it represents how one feels about him or herself. It also represents the ability to stabilise a community, so when you look at all of that its just a no-brainer for most elected people and people in public policy positions to really appreciate and be concerned about the issue."
Then Judge Annette Rizzo got involved and ordered that when people fell behind with their mortgages, the companies had to talk to them and negotiate.
The action happens in Room 676 of the magnificent city hall. It looks like the setting for an US courtroom drama, but when you expect the hush to be broken only by one commanding voice, of lawyer or judge, there is a busy hubbub.
Beneath the judge's bench little groups huddle, homeowners negotiating with lending companies through city-appointed case officers.
About 200 people come through these doors every day and Judge Rizzo says it is like a petri dish where the development of the city's economy can be examined in minute detail.
On the day that the latest US GDP figures indicate a faltering, unsteady recovery how does it seem to her?
"We're beginning to see people starting a new job, they don't have much of a track record, but are getting some sort of minor employment or part time work. They remain under-employed, which creates an issue for long-term stability with their mortgage, but at least we are seeing some sort of turnaround. We're not out of the woods yet. It's on an individual basis. For every one or two who [can pay something towards their mortgage] because they've had some type of employment come, we are seeing others who've just lost their job after several years. So it's really a mixed bag."
Sheriff Green agrees: "The economy is theoretically rebounding. Companies have shown a larger profit. Unfortunately that's not being transferred into creation of jobs so there are still a lot of people out of work and there's still a need to consider people's circumstances when you consider missed mortgage payments. So the economy is on its way back, but it hasn't really reached employees enough to make a difference in the number of foreclosures."
I visit a couple who have also had good news: their home is saved because of the Philadelphia programme, but Karen and Ralph Wiess recall the horror of their home being under threat.
"Very difficult, very depressing," says Mrs Wiess.
"Go to bed with it on your mind, wake with it on your mind," her husband adds.
"Don't want to eat," Mrs Wiess says.
They ran a family dry cleaning business, which Mr Wiess had taken over from his father who was in the business all his life.
But in the recession fewer people were using their service, and business declined until they couldn't keep up with payments. With their home saved they say things are looking up, and they are planning a new door-to door dry cleaning venture.
"It's slowly, slowly, slowly picking up a little," Mr Wiess says.
They leased out their business and now it is doing well.
"It's getting better than it has been the last few years, it's making more money than when we were actually doing it."
Ms Gibbons too sees things looking a little better. Her home and day-care centre is in a battered part of town, where many homes look neglected. She says in the last couple of months business has been good, with many mums finding training programmes if not jobs.
She says the economy is improving "slowly but surely".
"This neighbourhood is very poor and needs a lot of help," she says.
Is the recession over? "Not really, that's a long way to go."