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.

Lara Solt / KERA special contributor

A family trying to recover from Christmas weekend tornadoes got some startling news Tuesday.

Lara Solt / KERA special contributor

KERA's series One Crisis Away: Rebuilding a life, looks at tornado recovery for folks on the financial edge. It's estimated only 40 percent of people who lease apartments or houses have renters insurance. They need that money to buy food and pay the bills.

Maureen Barlin / Flickr

The homeless population in Dallas and Collin counties is up 24 percent from last year. That’s according to officials at Tuesday’s annual State of the Homeless address.

Lara Solt / KERA news special contributor

One Crisis Away: Rebuilding A Life follows four families on the financial edge, trying to recover from the Christmas weekend tornadoes.

Thorne Anderson / KERA news special contributor

KERA’s series One Crisis Away, Rebuilding A Life looks at four families left on the financial edge after December’s tornadoes. When the shelters close and the cameras disappear, recovery is only beginning.

Single mom Jenn Anderson had already rebuilt her life once. She picked up her two toddlers and moved to Garland shortly after her husband’s suicide in Las Vegas.

Lara Solt / KERA news special contributor

A dozen storms pummeled North Texas the day after Christmas, killing 13 people and destroying hundreds of homes. Nothing illuminates life on the financial edge like a tornado. That’s the focus of KERA’s new series, One Crisis Away: Rebuilding A Life.

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KERA’s One Crisis Away project looks at life on the financial edge. Today: our addiction to credit cards. A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston shows that despite the shaky economy, our credit habits are hard to break.

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For families struggling to make ends meet, it’s hard to know where to find help. 211 Texas provides a roadmap.

The call service can help with everything from putting food on the table to Medicaid enrollment. Courtney Collins caught up with Tarrant County 211, which just released a report about who's been using the service.

Matthew Rutledge

A report released last week by Apartment List shows Texas rent prices jumped 3.5 percent last year, which outpaces the national increase. Other research shows almost half of Texans spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent.

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.

KERA News

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.

Kathryn Harper / Flickr

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.

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