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 Texas Women's Foundation, The Fort Worth Foundation, The Thomson Family Foundation, and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

Canned goods line a pantry shelf
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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
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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.

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The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is designed to lift low income workers out of poverty, but new research from the 'Institute On Taxation & Economic Policy shows the tax credit is excluding people in need.

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Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is reconsidering some of its routes, and that could affect service to people who’ve come to rely on it. KERA's Justin Martin talked about the potential changes with reporter Juan Pablo Garnham, who's been covering the issue for The Texas Tribune.

Sujata Dand / KERA contributor

A program designed to bring nurses into the homes of vulnerable first-time moms is underutilized in North Texas. 

Praire View College of Nursing building
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A new report shows that a serious gulf still exists in Texas between funding for flagship state universities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Ashley Williams with the nonprofit center for public policy priorities talked with KERA's Justin Martin about how this funding gap affects students.

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These days, when Ashley Bryant drives around in her black Nissan, she does it without the anxiety she carried for six years whenever she got behind the wheel.

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In North America alone, about 14 million households struggled to find food in 2018. There are many different reasons why — everything from poverty to a lack of transportation — but Miguel Acevdeo from the University of North Texas is focused on the source of the food itself — water and soil.

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Hundreds of people walked the streets of Dallas last Thursday to count how many people are homeless in the city. The results will be directly connected to federal funding to help find solutions for the homeless community.

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After the Great Recession, hundreds of thousands of families lost their homes — but those houses and apartments didn’t disappear into thin air.

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Homeless counts across Texas and the rest of the country are happening this week. Thursday night, volunteers in DentonDallas, Collin and Tarrant counties will tally what's known as unsheletered homeless.

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A growing number of people in the state don't have a place to live.  According to the latest figures, nearly 26,000 people in Texas are homeless — and Dallas has the largest homeless population in the state.

Lakesha Bunch and her children Baylor, 3, and Josiah, 10 months.
Sujata Dand / KERA News

What happens when a parent gets sick — and doesn't have child care lined up during treatment? When researchers study women’s health, they often overlook that critical need. But Dallas's Parkland Hospital is trying to change that.

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A new Brookings Institute report shows 53 million Americans are low-wage workers. Martha Ross, one of the report's authors, talked with KERA's Justin Martin about the struggles these workers face.

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From the struggle for food and shelter to overcoming childhood trauma, homeless young people in North Texas are up against many obstacles. 

Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

When a family struggles with money, it can actually affect a city's finances.

New research from the Urban Institute reveals that financially insecure families cost Dallas as much as $69 million dollars this year.

Allison V. Smith / KERA news special contributor

Incarceration decimates wealth. That's the central theme KERA's Courtney Collins explored for the last month in the series, One Crisis Away: The Price of Prison.

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