Posts Tagged Dallas
Here is a snip and link to a great post by KERA on the North Texas Food Bank – As more people are stretched why not start to think of the Food Bank as the possible centre of a local food system where the system expands from a donation model to a local supply model where people learn also how to grow and make food for each other?
The North Texas Food Bank is working to expand its reach to meet the growing demand and is in its second year of a campaign to narrow the gap between available services and demand by expanding annual access to 50 million meals.
Last year, it provided access to 37 million meals.
The nonprofit agency was created in 1982 to pull together efforts to feed hungry residents of 13 counties, securing donations of surplus unmarketable, but wholesome, food and grocery products to distribute throughout its network. Last year, the agency distributed more than 39 million pounds of food through partner agencies in Dallas, Denton, Collin, Fannin, Rockwall, Hunt, Grayson, Kaufman, Ellis, Navarro, Lamar, Delta and Hopkins counties.
Food collected by the North Texas Food Bank is distributed through 291 agencies, supporting 1,146 feeding and education programs.
Is this an idea that is ripe for Public Stations to add to their work on FTMC? Would it not be the same kind of work – helping glue the community together – telling the stories etc?
In an earlier life I was SVP HR for a large bank – ouch! I only say this because I do know a bit about how HR works. So with that as context, here is a simply outstanding tip sheet on how to get the most out of a resume offered by KERA from one of their partners – Jewish Family Services
College has become more of a stretch in the last few years – never more than now. Here KERA has some good advice for students and parents – key ACT NOW!
UT Arlington told KERA that its average student spends about $20, 600 to cover all costs for a year of school, and financial aid officers are able to find scholarships and loans for some 65 percent of UTA students.
- If you haven’t filed your Free Application for Federal Student Aid for 2009, do it now. Re-file after Jan. 1 for the 2010 school year.
- If your financial situation has changed since your financial aid package was issues, contact your school’s financial aid office immediately and request a review for additional aid.
- Start scouring the Web and other sources for information on scholarships, many deadlines are during the fall or first part of the year.
I use Twitter to follow the crisis. I watch “foreclosure” and #ftmc. I am amazed at how many scams are out there. There is a huge “industry” out there ready to scam home owners. What the betting that these are the very same people that got others into this mess in the first place.
WVXU (Cincinnati) has this interview with the Attorney General of Ohio.
KERA in Dallas has a useful guide to help people avoid being scammed. here are the main points:
KERA’s Sam Baker talks with special investigators with the Dallas District Attorney’s office and Specialized Crime Divison about mortgage foreclosure scams Monday.
Andrew Masters, a special investigator with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and Specialized Crime Division, and Stephanie Martin, an assistant District Attorney for Dallas County Specialized Crime Division, offered some red flags consumers should watch out for:
-Company asks for money upfront to pursue your case. Often it’s a hefty fee of $1,000 or more. Free help is available through HUD-approved housing counselors. Contact HOPE NOW at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) or dial 2-1-1 to be connected to local resources.
- You’re contacted by the company directly, and pressured to take action before calling your mortgage company. Public posting requirements of a home slated for foreclosure make it easy for such firms to come knock on your door.
-The company tells you NOT to contact your lender. You should always stay in contact with your lender.
- Company contacts you and says it’s affiliated with a government agency. That may be true, but you should always check with that agency to be certain.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott also warns against so-called “equity-stripping” schemes, in which a company offers to “temporarily” sell the home so the owner can catch up on mortgage payments.
The Texas Attorney General offers several resources on avoiding fraudulent foreclosure operators and has a special taskforce devoted to protecting consumers.
To file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General, go to the Web site or call 1- (800) 252-8011
One trend is now clear – that unemployment is the most important driver for foreclosure. So what do the unemployment numbers mean? As this report by KERA tells us – they are not truly representative of what is going on and they can seriously understate what is going on:
Many people assume that the government only uses the number of persons filing for Unemployment Insurance benefits (UI) through state or federal government programs as their source.
Because many people aren’t eligible for UI or have already exhausted their benefits, that wouldn’t give us a real picture of the number of unemployed people.
Other people believe that the government actually counts the number of all unemployed people each month –an undertaking that would require the level of work done by the U.S. Census every ten years.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses a monthly survey called the Current Population Survey to measure unemployment across the country. It has been conducted in the U.S. every month since 1940, and is one of the oldest continuous monthly sample surveys of households in the world.
There are about 60,000 households in the sample, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. and each month, a quarter of the households in the sample are changed so that none are interviewed more than four consecutive months. Surveyed individuals are interviewed and the data is compiled electronically so it can be adjusted to independent population estimates.
The survey relies on three basic concepts of employment and unemployment:
- Individuals with jobs are counted as employed.
- Individuals who are jobless, looking for a job, and available for work are unemployed.
- Individuals who are neither employed nor unemployed are not counted in the labor force. People who are under 16 or in the Armed Forces are also not counted.
These definitions aren’t as simple as they may sound. People are considered employed if they did any work for pay during the survey week. An 18-year-old student who baby-sits for 6 hours a week would be counted as employed, just as her mother who might work 40 hours per week.
People are classified as unemployed if they don’t have a job, are actively looking for work, and are currently available for work. If they are in training or educational activities, they are not counted as either employed or unemployed.
People who aren’t working but are physically unable to job aren’t counted in either category. Other examples of people not considered in the labor force would be persons confined to institutions such as prisons, jails, or hospitals.
As you might expect, there is much work that is done outside these simple definitions. The BLS keeps data on persons who would be counted as “marginally attached to the labor force” but not counted as either employed or unemployed.
“Discouraged workers” are a subset of this group. Many of these individuals are the people our community partners see every day. They don’t believe there is a job available for them and that they lack the skills necessary to find employment. The BLS keeps numbers on these individuals as well, but doesn’t count them in the official numbers.
The recession is hitting men worse than women – forcing yet a further shift in roles and power at home – the key? The attitude of the woman! (KERA)
In another look at the different ways the economic recession is affecting families, reporter Eric Aasen at The Dallas Morning News had this interesting piece (Great Video that brings it all home here) on one McKinney man who became a stay-at-home dad when demand fell sharply for his window treatment installation business.
Eric points out that unemployment levels have been higher (10 percent) for men than for women (7.6 percent).
Shifting from running his own business to caring for his three children was tough for Chuck Shepard. The News tapped Chuck and other child care experts to offer these tips for how to navigate the transition:
•Talk about their frustrations with family or friends, said Aaron Rochlen, a psychology professor at University of Texas at Austin. If possible, do part-time work or an occasional project to feel satisfied professionally.
•Isolation “encourages the sitting-on-the-couch- and-letting-things-drift period,” said Jeremy Adam Smith, author of The Daddy Shift. At-home dads should get their kids out of the house. Take them to playgrounds, classes, church activities and community organizations.
•The wife’s attitude toward her unemployed husband is key, Smith said. If she accepts that she’s the primary provider and is able to support her husband in his new role, “then they can thrive in these difficult circumstances.”
•At-home dads should try to make some time for themselves. Shepard said he meets weekly with a men’s group at a local church.
•Being an at-home dad is “like any new job,” Rochlen said. “Wait after a thorough period to evaluate how you’re doing before you consider yourself as a success or a failure.”
KERA’s Shelley Kofler broke a story last week that Texas would have to borrow money from the federal government to help pay for rising unemployment benefits this month.
Today, Dallas Morning News reporter Robert T. Garrett writes that the Texas Workforce Commission confirmed that the unemployment trust fund would run out of money early next week and the state will have to borrow $643 million to cover claims through Oct. 1.
In addition, Robert writes that some 82,000 unemployed Texans scheduled to exhaust their benefits this week would not receive immediate 13-week extensions as expected.
A TWC spokeswoman blamed the delay – which could be at least a couple months – on stringent federal rules for accessing the benefits and state computer problems.
The news comes at a time when unemployment levels are rising. The DMN story notes that about 285,000 Texans were on unemployment compensation in the six weeks ending June 27 – nearly triple the number from a year earlier.
As of early June, 14 states had run out of money to pay for unemployment benefits and were forced to borrow from the federal government. Source KERA
So the jobless numbers contain more pain and stress than we might imagine. If you lose your job, you will lose your home. If you cannot get a job again quickly, you may have nothing.
We have not talked much about this yet – there is a lot at stake – there is a lot that we can do.
One of our partners in this initiative is United Way and their 2-1-1 Referral Service—their partnership has been invaluable during Facing the Mortgage Crisis, because 2-1-1 is able to directly connect people to trusted resources. What’s interesting is that coverage varies in the country—some communities have just one call center, some have none, and others have several.
Through their work on Facing the Mortgage Crisis, stations have already seen their impact, not only on their communities, but on organizations that provide resources—from working with and uniting multiple 2-1-1 call centers, to connecting a new demographic to 2-1-1’s resources, the work of public media can be seen.
WVIZ/ideastream in Cleveland has created a strong partnership with their local 2-1-1 service—their United Way office noted a significant jump in calls once ideastream’s initiative began. They also noticed a new group of people calling into 2-1-1, suggesting that ideastream’s work had cast a web of resources further into Cleveland and its surrounding areas.
For this initiative, KERA in Dallas is working with its 13 local call centers. To help coordinate activities and logistics, KERA set up weekly conference calls with the centers. KERA’s coordination efforts have made working with several call centers possible, so 2-1-1 in the Dallas area can connect as many people as possible to the resources they need.
So what’s the moral of the story? The resources are out there–fantastic organizations like United Way help connect people to trusted resources in the community. But sometimes a connector, a convener, is needed in order to get the word out to as many people as possible–in this case, for this initiative, public media is helping connect more people to organizations like United Way.