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.

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.

Lara Solt / KERA news special contributor

The decorations were still up when a dozen tornadoes ripped through North Texas the day after Christmas last year. KERA has been following four families on the financial edge trying to recover from the storms.

We first got to know them last spring, in a series called One Crisis Away: Rebuilding A Life. Now, we check back in with them, a year later.

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There’s a strong correlation between physical health and socio-economic status.

The Corporation For Enterprise Development— a Washington D.C. based nonprofit — recommends bringing financial services, like budget coaching and free tax preparation, into community health centers. CFED's Parker Cohen explains why.

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The top local stories this afternoon from KERA News: Why weather in space might interfere with... smartphone maps? Researchers at The University of Texas at Arlington are working with the Department of Defense to understand how solar winds can be a hazard for us here on earth.

Samantha Guzman / KERA News

The excitement at the Dallas County GOP watch party cranked up a notch each time a state was called for Donald Trump. Republican leaders and GOP supporters celebrated a race that stunned them all.

A ballroom at the Westin Dallas Park Central erupted with cheers each time Donald Trump’s electoral vote total ticked up.

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Recent FDIC numbers show statewide, fewer people are what’s known as “underbanked." Translation: not being able to access mainstream credit. In North Texas, however, those numbers continue to rise.

One nonprofit is working to turn that tide—one low interest loan at a time.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

Families in West Dallas living in rental houses slated for closure will be allowed to stay in their homes until the end of the school year.

HMK Limited owns 305 inexpensive rental homes that don’t meet city code. Instead of repairing all the houses to bring them to standard, owner Khraish Khraish opted to close his rental business and have tenants vacate. 

Courtney Collins / KERA news

What happens when 300 families lose their housing all at once? That’s playing out in West Dallas, a longtime black and Latino neighborhood that’s rapidly gentrifying.

The City Council passed new housing standards in September. One landlord is now closing his rental home business because hundreds of his homes aren’t up to code.

Pan_Da / Shutterstock

Texans are struggling to pay for housing, despite the state’s reputation as an affordable place to live. Almost half of renters are spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

A viral storm has erupted around a Richardson man in the last few days. On Facebook, he posted a letter from Watermark, an evangelical church in Dallas. It said his membership was revoked. The reason: He’s gay and in a relationship.

Samantha Guzman / KERA news

There’s a lot to gawk at at the State Fair of Texas. A 55 foot tall cowboy, towering cones of cotton candy, flashing midway rides that defy gravity. This year, a handful of guys on pogo sticks do that too.

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KERA’s series One Crisis Away: Drowning In Debt focused on North Texans struggling to pay back money owed. These stories struck a chord with KERA listeners—many commented that they could relate. Others weren’t nearly so sympathetic. Here's a look at what's behind the shame and stigma surrounding debt.

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The top local story this evening from KERA News: The  public radio program America Abroad will explore the relationship between the United States and Israel Sunday at 5 p.m. on KERA 90.1.

Lara Solt / KERA news special contributor

Most people are working to pay down something. A mortgage, a credit card balance, a car note. There’s another kind of debt too—accounts that have fallen behind. They’re called delinquencies; they can wreck a credit score and stick around for years.

Lara Solt / KERA news special contributor

Some people borrow $200,000 for law school—others, $10,000 for a bachelor’s degree they never finish.

One Lewisville musician is somewhere in between. She has two undergraduate degreees. One’s paid off, one isn’t anywhere close. KERA's series One Crisis Away: Drowning In Debt zooms in on America's trillion dollar problem: student loans.

Lara Solt / KERA news special contributor

Debt isn’t something limited to folks with low paying jobs. The typical Texan carries nearly $4,700 in credit card debt. Here’s the thing: That balance tends to increase as income goes up.

Lara Solt / KERA news special contributor

For many Texans, the economy is booming—plenty of jobs that pay well and a low unemployment rate.

For many working families, though, there’s a monster in the closet: debt. It looks different in every house and gets tougher to control as each day passes.

KERA's new series One Crisis Away: Drowning In Debt chronicles North Texans scrambling to stay on top of their personal mountain of “money owed.”

Courtney Collins / KERA news

A North Texas program designed to help marginalized women secure meaningful employment also hopes to empower women. The Akola Project says that starts with a job that pays a living wage.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

One North Texas school has a plan to help families living in poverty stay involved at school. Teachers at one elementary are bringing the classroom into the home.

Staffers say a visit before the first school bell even rings can set the tone for the entire year.

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When you don’t have much money, finding legal representation is a challenge; which is why North Texas legal aid groups want families with limited resources to know, help is out there.

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Tax-free weekend starts Friday in Texas. The three-day break lets families buy backpacks, sneakers and blue jeans with no sales tax, which seems like a straightforward way to save.

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An often overlooked aspect of domestic violence is financial abuse. Victims are forced to co-sign loans, open new credit cards and make purchases they can’t afford.

One Tarrant County woman lost tens of thousands of dollars to her abuser. Years later, she’s still working to regain her financial footing.

Texas Tribune / TPR.org

The top stories this afternoon from KERA news: Some Texas Democrats gathering in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention are pushing two Texans as candidates to be the next national party chair: the Castro brothers – Julian and Joaquin.

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The top stories this afternoon from KERA news: This week, a computer outage took down the Southwest Airlines website, forcing 1,300 hundred flight cancelations, and stranding passengers and crews. Then, despite a record second quarter profit, its stock price fell. 

Rick Holter / KERA News

The last link in the second Calatrava bridge arch on I-30 over the Trinity River has been dropped in.

The Margaret McDermott Bridge was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava-- as was the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, completed in 2012.

Stephanie Kuo / KERA News

The top stories this afternoon from KERA news: A new light rail extension takes its maiden voyage. The DART extension runs three miles from the Ledbetter Station in South Dallas to the University of North Texas Dallas campus.

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