poverty

Mengwen Cao/KUT News

Public schools in Austin get federal and state money based on students’ attendance and socioeconomic makeup. 

How schools supplement that funding often depends on the private resources available from foundations, non-profits or parents.

While many schools in Austin have robust Parent Teacher Association operations, others, mostly with high percentages of low-income students (so-called Title I schools), struggle to fundraise within their parent base because of a lack of extra resources and time to write grants or work with businesses to bring in money.

Many times, those schools must look to private foundations and non-profits to provide extra programs for students and families. 
 

U.S. Census Bureau

Texas has one of the nation's lowest rates of people on welfare, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau. It says 1.8 percent of Texas households received benefits through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program in 2012. 

Only Wyoming (1.7 percent), South Carolina (1.6 percent), North Dakota (1.5 percent) and Louisiana (1.5 percent) had lower welfare rates than Texas. The United States average is 2.9 percent. The tally did not include food stamps or Social Security benefits. 

Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

Some of the poorest seniors in Texas live in Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley.

Many only speak Spanish and don’t have access to the basics, like food or medical care. But a Texas A&M professor and his team of community health workers – or "promotoras de salud” – are trying to find ways to help seniors along the border improve those conditions. 

They're working in places like the colonia border town of Progreso, near the Mexican border. Progreso is  one of the poorest places in the one of the poorest counties in the United States. The unemployment rate is more than 10 percent.

KUT News

Another national report card is out, and Texas households are still struggling to beef up their savings. 

Almost half of Texas households don’t have enough savings to pay for basic expenses for three months, which means most families aren’t prepared in the event of a job loss or health emergency.

According to the Corporation for Enterprise Development’s 2014 Assets and Opportunity Scorecard, the state’s policies are also not helping residents achieve financial security.

Bobby Foster Jr. can often be found reading the paper on a wooden bench outside Murry's grocery store on the corner of Sixth and H streets northeast in Washington, D.C.

"The sun shines over here this time of day," says Foster, a retired cook. "It's always good when the sun shines."

Murry's has been an anchor in this neighborhood for decades — during the crack wars of the 1980s and the urban blight that followed, when most other businesses packed up and left. Foster has been somewhat of an anchor, too. He's lived here for 54 years.

LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas

Today marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson's call to Congress, and the nation, to fight poverty.

Texas – President Johnson’s home state – often touts its growing economy. But the state has one of the highest rates of poverty in the U.S.

President Obama tried Wednesday to turn the conversation back to the economy, calling the growing income gap the "defining challenge of our time."

flickr.com/keoni101

Fifty-nine percent of front-line fast-food workers in Texas rely on public assistance programs such as food stamps and Medicaid to support their families, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Nationally, more than half – 52 percent – of the families of front-line fast-food workers use at least one public assistance program, compared with a quarter of the total workforce, according to the report. The research was sponsored by the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Labor Research and Education and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Urban & Regional Planning.

Jeff Heimsath/KUT News

Austin is growing – and so is the area’s low income population.

Over the last decade or so, the number of people living in poverty in Austin grew by 77 percent. But the number of people living in poverty in the suburbs grew by more than 140 percent. These numbers made Austin the second-largest percentage increase among big cities across the U.S.

Flickr user Images of Money, bit.ly/LeSsiT

State leaders routinely hail the "Texas Miracle" that's created one of the strongest economies in the country. 

Everyone mentions the growth and job opportunities across the Lone Star State, but a recent study by the Corporation for Enterprise Development shows that many Texans are striving on the edge of poverty.

flickr.com/steveritchie

A new report grading states on dental health gives Texas low marks when it comes to providing low-income children with dental care. The report from the Pew Center on the States finds Texas has been slow to improve access to dental sealants – which can prevent cavities.

MJ&M Facebook Page

An actor, a musician and UT’s head football coach are joining forces to help kids in need.

Mack Brown, Jack Ingram and Matthew McConaughey are putting together an event they’re calling “Mack, Jack & McConaughey" or "MJ&M."

There's not a lot of information right now—even the event's website says "additional details to be announced."

What we do know is that MJ&M will be a two-day, celebrity-filled special event held in Austin in April to raise funds for various children’s charities. The only charity already listed by name as one that will be supported is McConaughey’s just keep livin Foundation.

Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The percentage of low-income residents in Austin is going up. That’s according to the Community Action Network’s third annual Community Dashboard report, released this morning.

Image courtesy Texas Education Agency

While Gov. Perry tours the country arguing that Texas is an economic powerhouse, new data from the state’s education agency shows 2.9 million public school students are economically disadvantaged. The number represents 59.1 percent of the student population in the 2010-11 school year. It's a slight uptick from 58.9 percent the previous year.

Ten years ago, 49.2 percent of students were counted as impoverished. The total number of economically disadvantaged students increased from 2 million in the 2000-01 school year to 2.9 million in the 2010-11 school year, an increase of 45 percent. 

Economically disadvantaged students include those whose parents’ income falls below the federal poverty line. That’s $22,350 for a family of four.

Hispanic children now make up the largest group of children living in poverty in the U.S. The Pew Hispanic Center reports more than 6 million Hispanic children were classified as living in poverty last year. That’s more than any other racial or ethnic group. The report said the recession of 2007-1009 hit Hispanic children especially hard. The Center’s Mark Lopez said population growth and high birth rates are also factors.

Photo by The Trucking Tourist http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianlromig/

Almost one in five Texans is living at or below the federal poverty line, according to fresh data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The increase from 4.26 million in 2009 to 4.63 million in 2010 represents an increase of almost 9 percent.

The federal poverty threshold for a two parent family of two is $22,314 per year.

“That’s a pretty meager existence for families to be able to make ends meet and provide all the basic things we need have a healthy, productive lifestyle,” Center for Public Policy Priorities senior researcher Frances Deviney told KUT News.