One Crisis Away | KERA News

One Crisis Away

Lindsay Diaz and her son stand in what's left of their home after tornadoes tore through North Texas on Dec. 26, 2015.
Credit Lara Solt

KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.

The problem's known as asset poverty, and it doesn’t discriminate. 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 North Texas

Explore the series so far and join the KERA News team as they add new chapters to One Crisis Away in the months to come.

One Crisis Away is funded in part by the Communities Foundation of Texas, Allstate Foundation, the Dallas Women's Foundation, The Fort Worth Foundation, The Thomson Family Foundation, and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

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Poor families that spend too much on rent or live in terrible conditions have what's known as "worst-case housing needs."

 

A new U.S. Housing and Urban Development report shows the numbers of those types of renters surging across the country. Sandy Rollins of the Texas Tenants’ Union explains what that means for North Texas.

Courtesy of Aydrelle Collins

New research in Dallas County unravels what teen pregnancy costs a young mom and the community she lives in — from money spent on Medicaid for prenatal care to what it takes to investigate child abuse and neglect.

A North Texas teen pregnancy prevention program teamed up with UT Southwestern to calculate the costs.

A new study shows the harsh impact that growing up in a poor neighborhood has on a kid’s development. Researchers in Texas, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin found the number of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods surged during the Great Recession; from 36 percent of kids in 1998 to 44 percent in 2010.

Rice University sociologist Rachel Kimbro explains why the kids living in those neighborhoods were already a year behind their peers, before even starting school.

Dallas Area Habitat For Humanity / Facebook

Habitat for Humanity, the nonprofit that builds homes for people on the financial edge, just signed a deal to buy nearly four dozen lots in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of West Dallas. Getting people into the homes that will be built there, though, will take years.

frankieleon / Flickr Creative Commons

In Texas, many families are pulled out of poverty by what’s known as the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. Some experts say changing how the credit is paid out might help even more people.

The Brookings Institution’s Alan Berube talks about the credit — and why paying it all at once may not be the answer.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

Bed bugs can be especially overwhelming for low-income families. The pests are drawn to apartment complexes with lots of people packed into small spaces, and they cause pain, anxiety and financial stress.

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One nonprofit program is trying to help families think beyond a single crisis—and make real plans for the future.

Catholic Charities Fort Worth launched its Padua program just over two years ago. It’s named for Saint Anthony of Padua—who was devoted to the sick and poor. Corinne Weaver of Catholic Charities breaks down some of the early results.

Allison V. Smith / KERA special contributor

Last week brought news of potential resolution for the West Dallas families KERA’s been following in the series One Crisis Away: No Place To Go.

Questions still swirl around many of those families' homes; like the one Joe Garcia and his 84-year-old mom, Lily live in.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

For months, residents living in  weathered rent homes in West Dallas were told they had to clear out by early June. That's been the focus of KERA's series One Crisis Away: No Place To Go.

Jessica Diaz-Hurtado / KERA News

There’s a little patch of West Dallas called Gilbert-Emory. It’s only about six blocks, and it’s in the shadow of some of the new apartments and townhomes being built next to Singleton Boulevard.

Allison V. Smith / KERA news special contributor

In Dallas, the numbers on affordable housing are shocking. There are only 19 affordable homes for every 100 low-income families who need them. That’s playing out in West Dallas—as KERA's been exploring in the series One Crisis Away: No Place To Go.

Allison V. Smith / KERA news special contributor

West Dallas has been an afterthought for the better part of a century-- today it’s booming. The last four years have been a construction frenzy of new restaurants and upscale apartments. Some of the oldest residents don’t recognize the place.

Courtney Collins / KERA news

Dozens of people wearing “I Heart West Dallas” t-shirts packed a Dallas County courtroom Friday hoping for good news about their rental homes—which are scheduled to close in less than a month.

It's the focus of KERA's series One Crisis Away: No Place To Go.

Allison V. Smith / KERA special contributor

The City of Dallas can now inspect the inside of rental properties—something that wasn’t possible before code enforcement standards were tightened in September.

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.

Courtesy of Southern Methodist University

Guilt, social pressure and even a doctor’s recommendation aren't enough to motivate low-income families to vaccinate their teenagers for Human Papillomavirus (HPV), according to research from Southern Methodist University.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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