Courtney Collins | KERA News

Courtney Collins

Reporter

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.

At KERA, Courtney is lead reporter for the series “One Crisis Away,” about life on the financial edge. Courtney has won awards from the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors, Texas Medical Association, Houston Press Club and last year received the inaugural consumer financial reporting award presented by the Public Radio News Directors Inc. and the National Endowment for Financial Education. “One Crisis Away” was also recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association and National Endowment for Financial Education for excellence in personal finance reporting.

When she’s not at work, Courtney loves to read and play outdoors with her husband and wild toddler.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

Bed bugs can be especially overwhelming for low-income families. The pests are drawn to apartment complexes with lots of people packed into small spaces, and they cause pain, anxiety and financial stress.

Allison V. Smith / KERA special contributor

KERA’s series One Crisis Away: No Place To Go has spent the last few months exploring the housing crunch in West Dallas -- a neighborhood in the early stages of gentrification. As pricey restaurants and apartments go in, low-income residents -- almost all of them Latino or black -- are being edged out.

Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

The top local stories this evening from KERA News:

Gov. Greg Abbott signed the $217 billion state budget this afternoon. It includes funding increases for the state's beleaguered child welfare system and $800 million for border security.

alamosbasement / Flickr

One nonprofit program is trying to help families think beyond a single crisis—and make real plans for the future.

Catholic Charities Fort Worth launched its Padua program just over two years ago. It’s named for Saint Anthony of Padua—who was devoted to the sick and poor. Corinne Weaver of Catholic Charities breaks down some of the early results.

Allison V. Smith / KERA special contributor

Last week brought news of potential resolution for the West Dallas families KERA’s been following in the series One Crisis Away: No Place To Go.

Questions still swirl around many of those families' homes; like the one Joe Garcia and his 84-year-old mom, Lily live in.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

For months, residents living in  weathered rent homes in West Dallas were told they had to clear out by early June. That's been the focus of KERA's series One Crisis Away: No Place To Go.

Jessica Diaz-Hurtado / KERA News

Renters slated to leave their West Dallas homes learned Monday that they have more time—and a chance to buy their houses. This is the neighborhood KERA’s been following in the series “One Crisis Away: No Place To Go.”

Jessica Diaz-Hurtado / KERA News

The owner of hundreds of aging West Dallas rental homes that had been slated for closure said Monday that he will sell upwards of 75 of them to tenants. Hours later, a Dallas County district judge extended a move-out deadline for remaining renters until October.

Allison V. Smith / KERA news special contributor

In Dallas, the numbers on affordable housing are shocking. There are only 19 affordable homes for every 100 low-income families who need them. That’s playing out in West Dallas—as KERA's been exploring in the series One Crisis Away: No Place To Go.

Allison V. Smith / KERA news special contributor

West Dallas has been an afterthought for the better part of a century-- today it’s booming. The last four years have been a construction frenzy of new restaurants and upscale apartments. Some of the oldest residents don’t recognize the place.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

Dozens of people wearing “I Heart West Dallas” t-shirts packed a Dallas County courtroom Friday hoping for good news about their rental homes—which are scheduled to close in less than a month.

It's the focus of KERA's series One Crisis Away: No Place To Go.

Allison V. Smith / KERA special contributor

The City of Dallas can now inspect the inside of rental properties—something that wasn’t possible before code enforcement standards were tightened in September.

Allison V. Smith / KERA special contributor

The days are numbered for 305 weathered rental homes, most of them in West Dallas. The city says they aren’t up to code—so the landlord had to choose: fix them, or close up shop. He picked the latter.

Allison V. Smith / KERA news special contributor

A century ago, West Dallas was a poor, mostly white, unincorporated home for folks on the edge of society. As industry came, black families moved in— then Latinos, who put down roots that still run deep today.

Allison V. Smith / KERA news special contributor

KERA’s ongoing One Crisis Away project looks at life on the financial edge. Next week, we launch a series set in a neighborhood that’s been on the financial edge for more than a century.

growtainers.com

The top local stories this evening from KERA News: Central Market is starting to grow its own veggies – in shipping containers on store property. They’re known as “Growtainers,” and have customizable options for controlling light, moisture, temperature, and CO2 levels.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Some high-paying jobs just don’t attract many women. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1998 only 2.5 percent of firefighters were women. Fast forward to 2016, and it’s just 3.5 percent.

One North Texas training program is helping a few women buck that trend.

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There's one March Madness bracket that pits college against college off the hard court. This tournament awards victories based on a school’s ability to graduate low-income students without piles of loans.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

Dallas families bracing to lose their housing this June will get some money to relocate. The City of Dallas Housing Finance Corporation voted Tuesday to set aside $300,000 for families renting homes owned by HMK Ltd.  – homes that don’t meet housing standards that were strengthened last fall.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

In Dallas, there’s a program designed to send kids home from school each week loaded up with fresh fruits and veggies.

Brighter Bites, the nonprofit behind students' heaping bags of produce, also makes sure that parents know what to do with that food.

Marc Bruxelle / shutterstock

Across the United States, there isn't enough affordable housing for those who need it-- only 35 affordable rental homes for every 100 poor families, and the situation is worse in North Texas. That’s according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

According to JP Morgan Chase, some 42,000 “middle skills” jobs in North Texas will remain unfilled this year and next. Those are trades like electrician or dental hygienist—things that require training after high school but not a four year degree. These jobs pay a median salary of $24 per hour.

Jamie Ford / http://www.jamieford.com

A best-selling author says he was disrupted by students at an assembly at Highland Park High School. Jamie Ford was the keynote speaker at the school district's LitFest last week.

Ford describes his experience at Highland Park High as a school visit gone sideways.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

While people regularly give coats and outgrown shoes to those in need, homeless shelters—and the women who live there—are often without essentials like bras and feminine hygiene products.

A grassroots effort called Support The Girls is trying to change that.

Sharomka / shutterstock

Women often walk a rougher road than men when it comes to economic stability.

A new report from the Dallas Women’s Foundation, the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, and Texas Woman’s University shows 17 percent of Texas women live in poverty, compared to 14 percent of men.

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The top local stories this evening from KERA News: Governor Greg Abbott has made fixing Child Protective Services an emergency item this legislative session. Dozens of bills have been filed this session to make changes to CPS, including one that would create what a lawmaker calls "fostels." That's a combination of the words “hostel” and foster care.

Catholic Diocese of Dallas / YouTube

The top local stories this evening from KERA News: The Catholic Diocese of Dallas welcomed its new bishop Thursday afternoon. Edward Burns has been installed as the eighth bishop of the Dallas Diocese, which has 1.3 million Catholics in nine counties. 

Courtney Collins / KERA news

A United Way fellowship program is giving social entrepreneurs a leg up.

One of them is an urban farm in southern Dallas, a community with limited access to fresh food. The founder has dreams of a café and market serving up meals by the end of summer.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

Spending a couple of hundred dollars on a tax preparer can eat into a refund, and keep a family from finding stable fiscal ground.

That’s what the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is there to prevent. Thousands of North Texans rely on what’s known as VITA.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

Small nonprofits walk a delicate financial tightrope. Staffers at a Dallas organization just learned what it’s like to have an emergency come up when the budget’s tight. One stolen delivery van means their operation grinds to a halt.

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