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Home > Locations > Dallas > Working Poor Individuals & Families in Dallas County

Working Poor Individuals & Families in Dallas County

Current Situation
The reality for low-skilled individuals working in Dallas is bleak. They are not qualified for jobs that pay enough to cover basic living expenses, allow for savings and provide benefits. Working at Texas’ minimum wage of $7.25/hour, an individual would need to work 86 hours a week to afford a modest one-bedroom home. Forty-five percent of households in Dallas don’t have enough savings, $6,275 or less, to replace poverty-level income for three months. Of these households, 53,000 families live in poverty with an income of $25,000 or less for a family of four.

Consequences
Working for poverty-level income: Leslyn worked full time as a retail manager to support herself and her son. However, she struggled to make ends meet: she had an auto title loan with 157% interest, and had accumulated additional debt and warrants from unpaid traffic tickets. Establishing a checking or savings account was impossible. When the store Leslyn worked for was closed she found a new job. However, her pay went down to $12 an hour and her weekly hours fluctuated between 32-36 hours, and did not provide benefits. With lowered income and mounting debt, she eventually received an eviction notice from her apartment complex.

Injury at work: As a single mom with two young boys, Ashley earned about $12 an hour working full time at a retail store. Even with earning occasional overtime pay, she had little income left for savings or unexpected expenses. In June, Ashley fell at work and injured herself. Her doctor told her it would be at least three weeks before she could return to work. She qualified for Workers’ Compensation, but the coverage didn’t begin until eight days after her injury and paid only 80% of her normal take-home pay. In addition, Ashley had to pay nearly $200 to cover her medical co-pay. Although she had a little money saved, it wasn’t enough. Ashley had no way to pay her upcoming July rent payment. She received an eviction notice and was about to be locked out of her home.

Laid off from work & family medical issues: VaNessa lost her job and health care insurance when the agency she worked for lost funding. This created a huge crisis for VaNessa because her teenage daughter, Tia, experienced serious medical issues that required hospitalization. VaNessa drained her 401k to pay medical bills. Thankfully, her daughter’s health improved, but VaNessa ended up worse than broke. She was on the verge of becoming homeless. “I had never asked for help from anyone. Never been on the government system or programs of any type,” VaNessa said.


Lives Changed
Through The Salvation Army, Leslyn, VaNessa and Ashley found help and hope enabling them to stabilize and improve their lives. Leslyn qualified for the Home Sweet Home program. Her case manager met with her landlord and arranged for The Salvation Army to assist with rent payments, which kept Leslyn from being evicted. A case manager helped Leslyn establish a budget, and financial education classes provided her with the skills necessary to better manage her limited income. She opened a bank account, and gained the knowledge and confidence needed to resolve her unpaid traffic tickets and warrants through community service. Most importantly, she was able to fully pay off her high interest title loan. With over $3,000 of debt paid off, she is now able to focus on obtaining her GED, and looks forward to continuing her education while looking for a higher paying job. Leslyn’s case worker stated, “Leslyn’s lack of self-confidence was evident when she first came to us. Through a series of small steps, she has gained her confidence and sees there is hope for a better future for her and her son."

The Home Sweet Home program helped pay VaNessa’s rent and utilities for nine months, gave her job referrals and provided training in financial literacy, budgeting and nutrition. She also received regular groceries from the Food Pantry. This support helped VaNessa and Tia remain in their home until VaNessa could get a job and get back on her feet. “I was recently hired full-time,” VaNessa said with a smile. “That’s a plus, and I owe it all to the help I received from the Home Sweet Home program.”

The Salvation Army paid Ashley’s rent for July and also contacted Ashley’s landlord to ensure that the family would be allowed to remain in their apartment. Rent help for only one month prevented Ashley from becoming homeless so she could return to work.


Transformational Solutions:
Home Sweet Home at the Carr P. Collins Social Service Center provides families and individuals with comprehensive individualized case management and supportive services for up to six months. These services include:

  • Rent & Utility Assistance: Financial assistance prevents individuals and families from being evicted or living without utilities while they participate in services that prepare them for long-term stability.
  • Job Readiness Services: This five-week job readiness course along with referrals to job fairs provide tools needed to obtain and maintain employment.
  • Food Pantry Assistance: Families with proper proof of residency receive bags of food based on family size.
  • Financial Education: This six-week course provides skills needed to manage immediate financial issues and effectively use credit, loan counseling and insurance as well as begin long-term financial planning.
  • Life Skills Education: Classes held three times a week focus on health and nutrition as well as coping skills including stress management, parenting, mental health and substance abuse issues.


Responding to More Families:
Home Sweet Home will serve approximately 235 individuals in 2019 with a budget of $1,100,268. Private donations of $921,268 leverage $179,000 in government funding.

How You Can Change Lives:

You can change the lives of working poor families in the following ways:

  • Prevent an individual’s immediate eviction and/or utility disconnection, along with providing critically needed groceries: $1,163
  • Provide six months of rent and utility assistance and food pantry access to a family as they take steps to stabilize their situation: $1,986
  • Provide individualized support from a Salvation Army case manager: $2,086
  • Provide an individual with comprehensive financial education and life skills, empowering them to plan for the future and make the best decisions for their family: $236
  • Teach an individual the skills needed to be hired for a job, which provides a sufficient and stable income: $416
  • Support a family every step of the way as they walk from the brink of despair down a pathway of hope, benefitting from all of Home Sweet Home’s offerings: $5,887

*To most effectively respond to clients’ needs, donations will be directed toward programs and services experiencing the greatest demand.

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