One Crisis Away | KERA News

One Crisis Away

KERA’s One Crisis Away project focuses a spotlight on North Texans living on the financial edge both in weekly stories and regular in-depth series.

A scene from West Dallas near Singleton Boulevard.
Credit Allison V. Smith / KERA News special contributor

A job loss, health emergency, even legal trouble can be enough to plunge a third of our friends and neighbors into financial distress. One Crisis Away puts a human face on asset poverty and the financial struggles of people in Dallas-Fort Worth.  

Explore multimedia projects: No Place To Go, a deep dive into affordable housing and gentrification in West Dallas; Rebuilding A Life, a series about North Texans recovering from devastating tornadoes; Drowning In Debt, stories about and resources for living with financial burden; and more.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

There are federal subsidies out there to help low income families pay for quality daycare. The problem is that money often takes months to come through. Two North Texas nonprofits are helping tide people over.

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Making money is one thing -- managing it is another. And new stats out from Creditcards.com prove that. The median income for Texas is better than average, but credit scores in the Lone Star State are some of the worst in the country.

Sophie Torres

It’s a dreary statistic, but it’s true: Most new small businesses fail within two years. The secret to success? Not just working hard, but understanding how to manage money.  

One workshop in southern Dallas is helping startups proceed with financial caution.

Wendy Sanders / Facebook

It’s been a week-and-a half since a dozen tornadoes ripped through North Texas, killing 11 people and flattening hundreds of buildings. In Collin County, parents of 35 kids enrolled at a destroyed daycare are scrambling to re-arrange childcare.

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Most people won’t think about income taxes for another couple of months. But low-income families are already counting the days until they can file. 

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When it comes to wealth, there’s a big gap between the “haves” and “have nots” in Dallas. And it turns out, those with means and those without don’t live very far apart.

Lara Solt / KERA special contributor

Between budgeting for gifts and coordinating travel, holiday to-do lists can be long and winding. For folks climbing out of homelessness, those to-do lists are longer, scarier, and much tougher to check off.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

For many people, the holidays mean hitting the stores, scouring the internet and for some of us, setting a budget. With that pressure to buy comes stress for folks living on the financial edge. According to WalletHub, one-third of Americans have already overspent.

As part of KERA’s series One Crisis Away at the Holidays, we meet two shoppers making tough decisions at the register.

Lara Solt / KERA special contributor

Most families worry about spending too much on gifts or travel this time of year. For some small family businesses, the holidays can be a lifeline.

Quincy and Sheri Brown’s catering operation has had a tough year financially and they need to finish the year strong. Their story’s a part of KERA’s series One Crisis Away at the Holidays.

Lara Solt / KERA special contributor

The pressure to shell out for holiday gifts, decorations, food, travel – it can push families to spend money they just don’t have. KERA is starting a new chapter in our ongoing look at life on the financial edge: One Crisis Away At The Holidays.

To kick things off we trace the modern-day history of retail spending and debt; from department store charge accounts, to wallets packed with plastic.

Kendra Nelson

It’s easy to fall over the financial edge if you don’t have job security. That’s why a Dallas nonprofit is helping women create their own path to employment.

The YWCA’s Women’s Enterprise Center launched earlier this year, and the new entrepreneurs who define it are learning a lot about the business world.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Two elementary schools in Richardson ISD have debuted new lessons this fall that spotlight everything from landing a good job to planning for college. And a free savings account is part of the deal.

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KERA's series, One Crisis Away, looks at life for people on the financial edge. In this edition, why some people feel they can’t get away from the edge even as the economy is recovering.

Sam Baker talked with Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal about the survey the show did to find out.

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City of Dallas and community leaders gathered Tuesday to talk about everything from child poverty to living wage jobs. Experts say getting a grip on the problem is the first step to solving it.

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KERA News won a total of 24 awards in 2015. Seven of those were national honors -- including the George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor. KERA was part of NPR's Peabody-winning Ebola coverage.

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Giving USA has been crunching charitable numbers for 60 years and 2014’s total of just over $358 billion was an all-time high. Four out of every five of those dollars came from individuals. Individuals who aren't necessarily billionaires.

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Donating to charity is big business. Last year, $358 billion was given out and 80 percent of that came from individuals. The Philanthropy Roundtable is a national nonprofit that helps donors give wisely.

That group’s in Las Colinas for its annual meeting. And some standout North Texas groups were invited too.

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This year’s Opportunity Index was just released. It’s an annual big-data report that ranks states on how easy it is for people to improve their lives financially. This year, Texas ranks in the bottom third -- 36th overall.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Some experts consider childhood poverty a form of trauma.

Counselors and directors with a Dallas nonprofit say growing up poor can impact everything from impulse control to anxiety.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Some communities hover over the financial edge, while others have completely fallen off. Sandbranch, an unincorporated corner of Dallas County, is one of them. Residents there have no internet, no trash pickup and no running water. 

A Fort Worth business owner is working tirelessly to make sure her employees don’t fall over the financial edge. She makes it her mission to employ, educate, and embrace each and every one of her staff members.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

After announcing a 10-year plan to jump from 62 million meals a year to 92 million, staffers at the North Texas Food Bank admit, it will be a challenging decade.

Forget 10 years down the road, serving as much as they do now isn’t exactly a cinch. 

Courtney Collins / KERA News

The North Texas Food Bank is tackling hunger with a bold 10-year plan. The goal? To put out 92 million meals a year by 2025. That’s 50 percent more than what’s being served now.

www.gotcredit.com

Your credit score controls the obvious (things like mortgage eligibility) and the not so obvious (like whether you can upgrade your cable package.)

Tony Milburn is on the board for Catholic Charities Fort Worth and works in wealth management for UBS. He talks about the sometimes startling impact of poor credit.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

For people battling back from an injury, or trying to live with a chronic condition, medical gear can be key to recovery. If insurance won’t pick up the tab, the cost can be devastating.

A North Texas nonprofit that’s part salvage yard and part repair shop is trying to bridge the gap.

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Sometimes small expenses can completely derail folks trying to leave homelessness behind.

For people just getting into transitional housing, little costs like a work uniform or a car tire can be enough to put them back on the street or in a shelter. That's where "flex funds" come in.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Imagine trusting a stranger to make your financial decisions. For some North Texans, that’s the best possible reality.

The “representative payee program” helps mentally ill adults manage Social Security benefits. It helps people pay their bills. And when done right, it builds a bond between volunteers and vulnerable citizens.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Two North Texas nonprofits are teaming up to make the dream of home ownership a reality for a local veteran.

For this 55-year-old and his young daughter, a new house is the high point in a decade that’s been marked with despair.

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Too much credit card debt is sometimes enough to push people over the financial edge.

According to a new survey, three of the five worst big cities for credit card debt are right here in Texas.

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KERA’s One Crisis Away project examines life for folks on the financial edge. Many senior citizens fall into that category. They might struggle with getting a job, paying for medicine, or managing wills and power of attorney.

That’s where Dallas County’s Elder Financial Safety Center comes in.

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