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

Veterans face many challenges when looking for work after leaving the military.

Dallas is one of the cities the Department of Veterans Affairs has chosen for a new program engineered to improve veteran hiring. North Texas companies are already on the job.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Landing a good job is especially tough with a newborn to care for. When you're a teen mom, it's more complicated still. That’s where a Dallas non-profit called Alley’s House finds its mission.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

One of the biggest challenges for refugees once they relocate is simply making a living.

More refugees are sent to Texas than any other state in the U.S. Getting them safe and settled is a serious undertaking.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

A week-long camp for homeless children in North Texas will end with an official commencement ceremony at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Organizers want these kids to get the feel of life on a college campus and return one day as undergraduates.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

While violence is usually the big concern with gang membership, financial hardship is a consequence too. The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Fort Worth is working hard to remove financial barriers for gang members and former gang members.

drocpsu / Flickr

Every year, volunteers across the country pick a single night at the end of January to count the homeless. A report was released Tuesday about the results in Dallas and Collin counties.

Rick Holter / KERA News

New research out of the North Texas Food Bank's Hunger Center explores the link between food security and other financial habits. According to Research Director Richard Amory, data shows bad financial practices may actually cause food insecurity. 

Courtney Collins / KERA News

YWCA buildings in Dallas used to feature swimming pools and gyms. Those disappeared a decade ago. Since then, the organization has re-focused on women’s health and financial coaching, but until last week, the YW didn’t have a place to call home.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

About half a million Texans live in what’s known as colonias. These communities pop up near the Texas-Mexico border and usually lack the basics, such paved roads, utilities and secure housing.

elycefeliz / Flickr

Half a dozen bills designed to raise the state’s minimum wage are working their way through a Texas House committee. Currently, Texas pays at the federal rate which is $7.25 an hour.

A significant bump in hourly pay could be a long shot in a staunchly conservative legislature. One advocacy group has just issued a study endorsing President Obama's call to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Lara Solt / KERA Special Contributor

For the last month, the KERA series One Crisis Away: Inside a Neighborhood has illuminated the lives of folks on the financial edge in Jubilee Park.

As KERA’s Courtney Collins reported, Jubilee has seen change for the good, but there are still plenty of problems in the East Dallas neighborhood: it’s tough to find fresh food, bank accounts and decent-paying jobs.

Lara Solt

The cost of living poor can be staggering: Racking up interest on a payday loan, working for minimum wage, paying fees to cash a check, and eating healthy when groceries are hard to find. 

Courtney Collins / KERA News

There’s a big difference between having a job, and having a job that pays enough to live on. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Two years ago, 400,000 Texas workers were paid that -- or less.

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

For some North Texans, the most challenging chore of the week is buying groceries.

As part of our series, One Crisis Away, Inside a Neighborhood, KERA explores why a lot of people in Jubilee Park drive for miles to get their groceries. Or pay the price at the corner store.

Learn About Dallas' Jubilee Park In New KERA Series

Feb 24, 2015
Thorne Anderson

Going to school, finding a good job, opening a savings account, buying a home -- they're all parts of the American dream. But they might just be dreams for many in North Texas, where one in three can’t weather a financial storm that lasts 90 days.

What It’s Like To Be Poor

Jan 23, 2015
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Members of America’s middle and upper classes have preconceived notions about what it means to be poor. This hour, as part of KERA’s One Crisis Away initiative, we found out what going without is really like.

How Poverty Can Affect A Child's Brain

Jan 15, 2015
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Research has shown that growing up in poverty can negatively affect the wiring – and even the physical dimensions – of a child’s brain. As part of KERA’s One Crisis Away initiative, Think explored how interventions during the middle school years can reverse those changes. 

Lara Solt / KERA News Special Contributor

A third of North Texans are living without enough cushion to last more than a few months after a financial disruption. KERA’s series “One Crisis Away” put a face on asset poverty by chronicling four local families.

The Momentous Institute

Financial insecurity and poverty can take a toll, but it can also affect the brains of kids growing up in poverty. 

The Momentous Institute is trying to reverse that. Michelle Kinder is the executive director of the organization, which runs a school and two therapy programs in Dallas. 

Dane Walters / KERA News

KERA’s series One Crisis Away put a face on asset poverty by chronicling four North Texas families dealing with life on the financial edge. This holiday season, we’re catching up with some of those families, including 73-year-old Shirley Martin. 

Dane Walters / KERA News

Last year, KERA launched a series called One Crisis Away, looking at four North Texas families on the financial edge. Between now and the end of the year, we’ll catch up with the families. First up, the Dorys.

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When faced with a financial emergency, some turn to payday or car title lenders. There’s about 175 of them in Dallas offering quick cash at great cost. The city and an Austin-based lender to small businesses have announced an alternative.

Corporation for Economic Development

A new nationwide study shows a continuing surge in “asset poverty” rates in North Texas -- despite the economic recovery. 

Ginae McDonald/Shutterstock / www.shutterstock.com/gallery-1536p1.html

A minimum-wage worker can’t afford a two-bedroom apartment in Texas – or anywhere else in the country.

That’s the conclusion of an annual study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Out of Reach 2014 analyzed wages and rental costs across the country.

In Texas, a minimum-wage worker would have to work 93 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom rental. The minimum wage is $7.25 in Texas – or $15,080 a year for a 40-hour workweek.

Dane Walters / KERA News

One in three North Texans can’t weather a financial storm that lasts 90 days. The problem's known as asset poverty, and it doesn't discriminate. A job loss, health emergency, even legal trouble is enough to plunge a third of our friends and neighbors into financial distress. 

KERA's series One Crisis Away is following four North Texas families on the financial edge.

On March 27, a one-hour special will air on KERA-TV, Channel 13, that features these families and explores asset poverty. The special will air again on Channel 13 at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. March 30 and 11 p.m. April 8.

The special was taped in front of a live audience at the Dallas City Performance Hall. We livestreamed the event -- we've posted the video below.

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There are a lot of non-profit organizations in Texas devoted to financial assistance and low income programs designed to give people a leg up. As KERA continues to explore life on the financial edge through our new series One Crisis Away, we’ll compile a list of places where people can go to find help.

Meet The Man Trying To Battle Poverty In Dallas

Feb 25, 2014

Earlier this month, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced the formation of a task force to fight poverty in the city. As part of KERA’s One Crisis Away initiative, Think host Krys Boyd talked about how Dallas will take on the challenge with Larry James, the man the mayor chose to lead the task force.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Isac Madrid, the 25 year-old Rockwall man featured in KERA’s series One Crisis Away, was laid to rest Monday. Over the past few months, he shared his family’s story about the challenges of facing both a health and financial crisis.

Leaving behind a devoted wife, young son and large extended family, Monday’s service was filled with people who loved Isac.

Wayne Stadler / Flickr

The numbers are staggering: One of every six Texans lives below the poverty line. One in three has no savings account. Two of every three have a sub-prime credit rating. Those numbers, and the real-life people they represent, are what propels Woody Widrow.

Widrow is executive director of Raise Texas, a nonprofit network of organizations focused on helping people build financial stability. As part of the KERA series One Crisis Away, he sat down for a Friday Conversation.

Dane Walters / KERA News

One in three North Texans can’t weather a financial storm that lasts 90 days. The problem's known as asset poverty, and it doesn't discriminate. A job loss, health emergency, even legal trouble is enough to plunge a third of our friends and neighbors into financial distress. 

KERA's series One Crisis Away is following four North Texas families on the financial edge. A health crisis sent the Madrid family of Rockwall into a financial crisis. Shirley Martin of DeSoto is a retiree who's struggling to make ends meet. Natalie Berquist of Lewisville is a single mom who faced homelessness after losing a job. And despite being frugal, the Dory family of White Settlement struggles with credit card debt.

Meet these families and explore their stories in our KERA News Digital Storytelling Project.

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