In Texas, 25 percent of families with children (every fourth family unit!) live below the poverty line ($18,400 for a family of four).
Of the 513,000 families with children who live in poverty, 81% are headed by a worker. So much for the "lazy poor" mythology!
Twenty-three percent of Texas children have no health insurance--a number sure to rise given the current declining strength of the Children's Health Insurance Program thanks to our legislature's funding decisions.
In Texas, 21 percent of our children (that is more than 1 in 5) live at or below the poverty line--a statistical measurement that is set artificially and arbitrarily low.
Texas ranks 45th in the nation in Medicaid funding for nursing home care. Over 90% of Texas nursing homes do not meet minimum staffing levels set by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. I guess in Texas, when it comes to the aged, we are conservative with our compassion!
Only two states have a higher percentage of "poor" people than Texas: New Mexico and Arkansas.
In Dallas County the "housing wage" is $16.75. This represents the hourly wage necessary for a full time employee to be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the area's fair market rent. This amount represents 325% of the current minimum wage ($5.15 per hour). A minimum wage worker in Dallas County would need to work 130 hours per week in order to rent such a home. Put another way, a minimum wage worker can only afford monthly rent of $268 or less, if housing costs are to be held at a feasible 30% of the worker's wage.
In Dallas County, a household earning $19,500 can afford monthly rent of no more than $488. The fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the area is $871.
A Social Security income recipient receiving $522 monthly can afford monthly rent of no more than $166. The fair market value of a one-bedroom apartment in Dallas is $678.
Low-income residents of Texas face an uphill battle on a daily basis. The number of families facing these challenges is staggering. Most Texans don't really understand.
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