The Core Blog

Our blog, The Core, is here to educate, inspire, and to offer practical solutions to difficult, systemic problems.

Person seated holding resume

The Sealing and Expunction Process in Texas: Recommendations for Communities and Decision-Makers

Date Author Farah Merchant

This is the second and final blog in our two-part series on seeking record relief in Texas. You can access the first one here . Thanks for reading along! In Texas, every single adult must apply to seal or expunge their record, whether they are innocent, their charges were dropped, or they have been crime-free for years. With a record relief process as complicated as ours, most rely on some form of assistance. This can
A maze (orange color) with a green ladder out

The Sealing and Expunction Process in Texas: Resources for Those Seeking Relief

Date Author Farah Merchant

This is the first of a two-part blog series on seeking record relief in Texas. Stay tuned for the second part next week! In Texas, a criminal record has far-reaching implications. It can prevent system-impacted people from securing housing and employment, necessary cornerstones for re-entry and a crime-free life. Nearly 75% of formerly incarcerated people remain unemployed after being released, partially due to barriers to job opportunities. Often, a record is not a measure of
Person in chains in front of barbed wire, with sunrise and birds

A Look Inside: The Lack of Treatment for Substance Use Disorders in State Jails

Date Author Kayla Roane

It isn't news to most of us that rehabilitation services are lacking in the carceral system in Texas. We know that our system focuses almost exclusively on punishment, as opposed to treatment, with many believing that incarcerated individuals are a menace to society and cannot or will not recover. Texas is unique in that we have state jail felonies, the majority ( 45%) of which are low-level drug offenses, with many suffering from substance use
Part of calculator sitting on a paper with bank statement "Overdraft Fee Summary" and the amount of $35

No More “Gotcha” Fees in our Future? CFPB Proposes Rule to Increase Transparency and Fair Pricing for Overdrafts

Date Author Ann Baddour

My most recent experience with overdraft fees happened a few years ago. One of my kids — a young adult — inadvertently made a handful of Venmo payments of less than $20 while on a trip with friends that exceeded the balance in the connected checking account. By the time we realized there was an issue, the overdraft and non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees, at $35 per payment, had ballooned to nearly $400 on payments that
Texas State Capitol Building in Austin, outside grounds

A Look Back at the 88th Texas Legislative Session: Fair Financial Services

Date Author Ann Baddour & Briana Gordley

May 29, 2023, marked the end of the regular 88th Texas Legislative Session. Texas Appleseed’s Fair Financial Services Project, grounded in building and supporting financial wellbeing for Texans, had a robust legislative agenda. Among our priority items, we worked to promote data privacy protections, enhance debt collection rights for victims of financial abuse, and address predatory lending. We faced some setbacks but had many successes and made important progress across all of our policy priorities
Fort Myers Beach, Florida - October 26, 2022: Workers walking along piles of debris near Estero Blvd

Updated: What We Learned from Monitoring Hurricanes Fiona and Ian

Date Author Meg Duffy, Ellen Stone, Jessi Stafford, John Laycock

After the devastating storms of the 2022 hurricane season, many disaster survivors in Puerto Rico and Florida were unable to access much-needed assistance through FEMA. During our ongoing analysis of FEMA’s Individual and Households Program (IHP) assistance data 1 on Hurricanes Fiona and Ian, only a small proportion of Puerto Rican applicants received Housing Assistance, and thousands of applications in both Florida and Puerto Rico were rejected for failure to verify homeownership. Housing Assistance is
Worried woman looking at phone and paying bills stock photo

HB 3827, Moving Through the Texas Legislature, Would Leave Texans Vulnerable to Abusive Financial Practices

Date Author Ann Baddour and Briana Gordley

HB 3827 deals with tech-enabled wage advance products that are marketed as “earned wage access.” Though these new wage-advance products are presented as “earned wage access,” only some are actually based on earned wages. Some models are structured to operate in partnership with employers and collect advances through payroll deduction. But, a large part of the market is based on a “direct-to-consumer” model, offered directly to individuals without involving the employer. These companies give advances

Higher Education in Texas Prisons: What We All Have to Gain

Date Author Chris Willuhn, Director of New Projects

This is the first of a three-part blog series on higher education in Texas prisons. Stay tuned for the second and third parts in the next few weeks! The state of higher education in prisons in Texas and across the nation will enter a new phase in July. For the first time in nearly three decades, incarcerated people will be eligible to receive Pell Grants to finance their pursuit of a postsecondary degree or workforce

Fair Financial Services & The 88th Legislative Session - Protections for Victims of Financial Abuse

Date Author Briana Gordley, Policy Analyst

Julia (her name is changed to protect her privacy), from Grand Prairie, Texas, reached out to Texas Appleseed for help in the summer of 2022. She shared, “I have lost almost everything up to this point. I'm left with nothing but my narrative and hope. It has been precisely three years since my escape. What is still true, though, is that his real identity destroyed mine. Not only that, realistically his credit worthiness has become

Fair Financial Services & The 88th Legislative Session - Data Privacy

Date Author Briana Gordley, Policy Analyst

Advances in digital technologies have allowed consumer behavior to be incessantly monitored through the mass collection, sharing, and selling of our personal information. Texas has several data privacy laws that provide some degree of accountability for data collection and use, but there is no comprehensive law that protects the right to privacy. In 2019, The Privacy Protection Advisory Council was created to advise the state legislature on current privacy laws. In the Council’s 2020 report

Advocacy From Experience: Centering the Stories of the Formerly Incarcerated

Date Author Kayla Roane, Policy Advocate

Most Americans can agree that keeping our communities safe is of the utmost importance. However, we live in a society that aims to protect communities of privilege, and our current carceral system only ensures recurring cycles of crime and violence. It could not be clearer that our criminal justice system is failing us all, yet research and data continue to be ignored, and little to no change is occuring. Some people who continue to commit

Education Justice & The 88th Legislative Session

Date Author Andrew Hairston, Director, Education Justice Project

As we enter the 88th legislative session, Texas Appleseed will be focused on encouraging the Texas Legislature to adequately support public school students. Texas Appleseed aims to focus our legislative priorities on issues of educational inequity and imbalances that have existed for years but exacerbated by the pandemic and recent school shootings. Texas Appleseed’s goal is to utilize our connections with community organizations, schools, teachers and students to cultivate a policy perspective that fosters safe