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.

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.

melis / shutterstock

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.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

There was some movement Monday in the case of 300 families slated to lose their rental homes in West Dallas. At a City Hall news conference, Mayor Mike Rawlings announced that Catholic Charities Dallas will start canvassing the neighborhood.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

Education and earning potential both suffer when teens have babies—and one North Texas nonprofit is challenging students to think about how their life would change with a child to care for-- by hosting a film competition.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

In 1994, Congress designated the federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. as a national day of service. Ever since, service-minded people have embraced the challenge to make the third Monday in January a day on, not a day off.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

A interactive exhibit housed in a 53 foot-long trailer is traveling the country, to educate communities about hunger—and the 42 million Americans who experience it.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

A big city library has turned around the way it handles some of its most marginalized visitors. The Dallas Public Library has committed to not just tolerating—but welcoming—every homeless person who walks through the door.

Crystal Calderon / Flickr

The top local stories this evening from KERA News:

People who work expect a paycheck—and a lot of employees have gotten used to direct deposit, sick time, maybe health insurance. As more and more corporations set up shop in North Texas, however, companies have gotten much more creative with “perks.” Think ping-pong tables and casual Friday.

Magnetic Mcc / shutterstock

Some people struggling with money may decide to make big changes to mark the start of 2017.

Experts say there is a right and wrong way to approach financial New Year’s resolutions—and people hoping to succeed need to know the difference. Certified financial planner Hannah Moore gives her best practices.

North Texas Food Bank

Editor's note: Jan Pruitt, president and CEO of the North Texas Food Bank, died Jan. 2 after a battle with cancer. Last month, Pruitt stepped down from her post at the food bank after two decades of service. This story was published on Dec. 27. It details her life and work. 

Samantha Guzman / KERA news

KERA’s One Crisis Away series: Rebuilding A Life is catching up with four families on the financial edge still struggling to move past last year’s Christmas weekend tornadoes. 

Jessica Cadick, her fiancé and their three kids were in a bad place after the storm. Their rental home was ripped apart and they didn’t have insurance. It’s been a tough year for the family financially, and  they’re still fighting to stay afloat.

Lara Solt / KERA news special contributor

KERA’s series One Crisis Away: Rebuilding A Life—looks at four families on the financial edge still trying to recover from last year’s Christmas weekend tornadoes.

Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor

Four families on the financial edge are still struggling to get past last year’s Christmas weekend tornadoes.

It took 10 long months to put Alfredo and Anthony Fowler-Rainone’s home back together. They waited out the construction in a North Dallas hotel with their three dogs. Now, they’ve moved back in — and, a year after the tornado, they barely recognize their neighborhood.

Lara Solt / KERA news special contributor

Four families on the financial edge are still trying to recover from last year’s Christmas weekend tornadoes and rebuild their lives.

Jennifer Anderson thinks she’s endured her fair share of tragedy. Last year’s tornado ripped her Garland apartment to pieces and she’d lost her husband to suicide just two years before. Jennifer can’t shake the feeling another crisis could be on the horizon, something she struggles with, even a year later.

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