Traditional measures of poverty do not capture the magnitude of people who are struggling financially. Reality Check is a series that makes the invisible visible by shining a light on the true number of families struggling in Harris County and across the U.S.

Access to early education, affordable housing, traditional lending, and healthcare can help to break the cycle of living hand to mouth, this series explores how we as a community can make this a reality.

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Episode 3: The Importance of Early Education

It is crucial to expose children to new experiences and ideas early on, because 90% of a child’s brain is developed by the age of 5.

The data clearly shows that children who receive early, quality education outperform those who do not. Yet access to affordable childcare is a challenge for many, especially those who live paycheck to paycheck.

In episode 3 of Reality Check, we explore what quality childcare is all about, and what parents can do to help ensure that their child develops a healthy love of the classroom.

Reality Check Episode 3

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Episode 2: The COVID-19 Constrain

At least 47% of Greater Houston Area families are living below the poverty level.

Those numbers were calculated before the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that COVID-19 hardships have caused more families to become financially strained and has made life even tougher for those who were already struggling. Families who were already living on the edge are having to make tough short-term financial decisions about healthcare, education, and work that can have long term effects on their ability to pull themselves out of poverty.

In episode 2 of Reality Check, we examine who are the most vulnerable in our community as Harris County grapples with COVID-19.

Reality Check Episode 2

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Episode 1: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed

Individuals in Harris County are struggling. Almost 50% of the Houston workforce does not make enough money to support a family. Many in our community cannot always pay the bills, have little or nothing in savings, and are forced to make tough choices, such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent. One unexpected car repair or medical bill can push these financially strapped families over the edge.

The future success of our communities is directly tied to the financial stability of these fragile working households. In episode one, we explore who these people are, how our economy has changed over the last 40 years, and what it means to be asset limited or income constrained while employed.

Reality Check Episode 1

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Resources