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

Looking At The Big Picture: A Holistic Approach To Pulling Families Out Of Poverty


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.

Interview Highlights: Corinne Weaver On... Padua helps clients compared to traditional programs: “Clients can come to Catholic Charities for a variety of reasons. Most likely it’s for help with a more concrete, tangible need. So sometimes it’s with paying a utility bill or rent assistance, transportation, or somebody’s looking for a job, a better job, and Padua then took them beyond some of those shorter term needs and really helped them with life. Always we have a goal within the Padua pilot of helping clients get to a level of financial self-sufficiency which we define as a living wage job, three months of savings at a living wage rate and then no bad, credit-harming negative debt.”

...whether Padua clients are sticking with it: “Within our first year, our Padua participants over 60 percent of them actually stayed in the program for a year or more. We tend to see more of like a 30 percent retention rate after a year, and so in Padua we more than doubled that number.” Padua clients are doing financially: “After the first year we were really pleasantly surprised to learn that the Padua pilot treatment group clients, which is what we call them in the research world, they were actually looking really positive compared to the control group in terms of labor market outcomes such as the employment rate, their hourly wages, the percentage of clients that were engaged in full time work. We actually saw in increase in monthly earnings. We are looking at about a $280 increase for the Padua treatment group when compared to the control group.”

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.