One Crisis Away: In Jubilee Park, Payday Loans Are Safety Nets | KERA News

One Crisis Away: In Jubilee Park, Payday Loans Are Safety Nets

Mar 10, 2015

In a neighborhood like Jubilee Park in Dallas, many people live on the financial edge. And if they fall off, sometimes it seems like the only safety net is a payday loan.

Those loans are designed for emergencies, the problem is, some activists say they’re also designed for default.

[Explore One Crisis Away: Inside A Neighborhood, KERA's digital news project.] 

Gloria Lopez has been volunteering at the Jubilee Park Community Center for years and took on a part-time job in May. As a receptionist, she takes home a thousand dollars a month. The man she lives makes about the same remodeling houses.

“Right now I think my checking account has probably about $100 after I got done paying all my bills.”

Two thousand dollars a month doesn’t stretch far when it has to cover a family of three. Lopez has a 12 year-old son to care for too.

She does her best to pay the rent, cover the bills and keep a little back for the unexpected. She doesn’t always make it.

“And when we can’t make it, we go to the loan place.”

The loan place gives her cash for her car title. If you don’t pay the loan off, there’s a fee added every month. If you don’t pay that, you lose your car.

Lopez has borrowed money this way three different times. She’s still working to pay the last loan off; she took it out last summer.

See a map of payday lenders in Dallas County and learn how Texas non-profits are trying to solve what they call a cycle-of-debt problem here.

Take a video tour through the soccer field, after school program and Zumba class at the Jubilee Park Community Center below.

[Explore One Crisis Away: Inside A Neighborhood, KERA's digital news project.]