Thanks so much for the response; I really appreciate your taking the time.
In a sense, I guess the piece I'm writing is really one conflict, with intertwining subplots about how all of these people are experiencing and simultaneously addressing it. So, what you provided there is a helpful framework that I'll keep in mind as I'm giving the idea form.
(I also realize I neglected to thank everyone else who's contributed to this thread. I read the whole thing, so I'm grateful to everyone for their efforts and perspective.)