One Crisis Away: Coronavirus And Life On The Financial Edge | KERA News

One Crisis Away: Coronavirus And Life On The Financial Edge

Franklins Tattoo and Supply on Columbia Avenue was closed March 24, the first day of Dallas County's stay-at-home order, but the shop had a message for folks walking by in East Dallas.
Credit Allison V. Smith / For KERA News

The coronavirus pandemic, and the economic fallout from it, is presenting a once-in-a-lifetime challenge to America's health care and financial systems. Nowhere is that challenge more stark than for folks living on the financial edge. These economic convulsions lay bare existing inequalities, and the fact that millions of Texans have been living one crisis away from financial disaster.

KERA's One Crisis Away team is taking an in-depth look at what those folks are facing in the series "Coronavirus And Life On The Financial Edge."

Are you looking for help? Or trying to figure out how you can help? Explore KERA Helps, a digital tool that connects people with resources and organizations dedicated to providing a helping hand.

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The Texas Women's Foundation defines the basic building blocks of financial security as child care, housing, education and health care. But what happens when those building blocks become stumbling blocks?

Keren Carrión / KERA News

The coronavirus outbreak has coincided with a surge in domestic violence calls, launching what some have called a “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence across the world. 

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Traditional roadblocks to housing are being amplified by COVID-19. A new report from the Urban Institute shows the pandemic is widening racial and economic divides. 

The nursery at the new Arlington Life Shelter.
Arlington Life Shelter's Facebook Page

Arlington Life Shelter has opened a new two-story facility that officials say will allow them to help more people who are experiencing homelessness.

Emily Dragoo, center, a teacher at Apollo Jr. High, hands out food to Richardson Independent School District families at a distribution site in Dallas in May.
Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

For families on the financial edge, the pandemic is making life that much harder — but especially for children.

KERA's Justin Martin talked about the challenges facing these families with Bob Sanborn, president and CEO of the education nonprofit Children At Risk.

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COVID-19 is affecting nonprofits that help people in need. About 40 million people nationwide have filed for unemployment during the pandemic — meaning many nonprofits will likely face their biggest challenges yet.

Justin Martin talked about this with Leah King, president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County.

Customers visited La Gran Plaza in Fort Worth on May 1, the first day shopping malls, restaurants, retail outlets and movie theaters were allowed to reopen.
Shelby Tauber for The Texas Tribune

As Texas restaurants and retail stores began welcoming customers back through their doors last week, a few dozen people walking the hallways of this city's normally bustling La Gran Plaza shopping mall passed reopened stores whose windows featured quinceañera dresses, Mexican ranchero boots and cellphones. 

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The latest numbers show a staggering 30 million Americans filed for unemployment in recent weeks, with 2.1 million of them in Texas. For a big chunk of those people, in the middle of a pandemic, that means a scramble to find health care — and health insurance. 

Eric Gay / Associated Press

State Rep. Carl Sherman, a DeSoto Democrat, was leaving the house to take soup to his mother when a neighbor stopped him with a question.

Her friend was recently laid off from her job and needed to file for unemployment but couldn’t get through.

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Many Americans are trying to work from home while shelter-in-place orders keep them out of the workplace.

But that's not an option for everyone. In fact, about 22 million people filed for unemployment in recent weeks, including a lot of Texans with jobs that have all but disappeared.

Christiana Nielson / KERA News

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Elizabeth Todd lost almost everything. Her home in the 17th Ward was overtaken by the Gulf and soon the city turned off all water. She wanted to stay and help, but she had to evacuate.

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Due to COVID-19, many homeowners in North Texas are out of work and wondering how they're going to pay the mortgage. One option allows them to delay those payments.  

As a part of KERA's One Crisis Away series "Coronavirus and Life on the Financial Edge," Dallas Morning News real estate editor Steve Brown talks about "mortgage forbearance."

The COVID-19 outbreak has triggered a stunning collapse in the U.S. workforce with 10 million people losing their jobs in the past two weeks and economists warn unemployment could reach levels not seen since the Depression, as the economic dam
Paul Sancya/AP

With unemployment claims at an all-time high, Texans in all sorts of industries are losing their jobs, or are worried they might soon. But one North Texas man, who was recently furloughed, is trying to stay positive.

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Shelter-in-place orders and shutdowns due to the coronavirus have contributed to a 1,500% increase in unemployment claims. Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for benefits last week.

man in front of tent
LM Otero / Associated Press

The number of people experiencing homelessness in Dallas and Collin Counties nudged downward this year to 4,471, according to an annual census of people living on the streets, in shelters and in transitional housing taken each January.

ticket taker at Dallas zoo
LM Otero / Associated Press

Of the 193 countries that in the world, 179 offer some form of paid sick leave so workers can stay home when they’re unwell. The U.S. is not one of those countries. 

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This story is part of the KERA One Crisis Away series, Coronavirus And Life On The Financial Edge.

The fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic is putting into sharp focus the ways inequality makes responding to disease outbreaks more challenging. As public health and other officials seek to limit the spread of the virus, the decisions they make and the guidance they offer may be undermined by the large number of Texans living on the financial edge.