The Core Blog

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


Criminal Justice & The 88th Legislative Session

Date Author Dr. Jennifer Carreon, Director, Criminal Justice Project

This upcoming legislative session, Texas legislators will be faced with the ever-present question — what are you going to do about crime? For those who have never been impacted by the criminal justice system, this question commonly stems from a place of fear — fueled by every violent incident that makes headlines and every policymaker who chooses to make it a point of non-negotiation on their platforms. Then there is the flip side of this

Fighting the Tide of Paperwork: Administrative Burden in Disaster Recovery

Date Author Meg Duffy, Policy Analyst

Administrative burden can present itself at every turn after a disaster — from waiting months to receive a home buyout to filling out arduous home repair applications. At all levels of government, these burdens prevent disaster survivors from swiftly receiving the aid that they need. In our new article, In the Aftermath of the Storm: Administrative Burden in Disaster Recovery, Luke Shaefer and I describe how administrative burden and other factors delayed disaster recovery in

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically affected the quality of life in Texas nursing facilities

Date Author Sam Morgan, New Projects Intern

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for long-term care facilities in Texas and nationwide. Existing medical vulnerabilities, living in close quarters and experiencing a lack of effectively managed infection control protocols made residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities particularly susceptible to the virus. Long-term care residents comprise approximately 15% of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States, according to CDC data.(1) Additionally, facility staff members were also vulnerable and contracted the virus at

Administrative Burden: Is Red Tape a Social Justice Issue?

Date Author Allaena Cruz, New Projects Intern

Navigating layers of bureaucracy is a near-universal experience for Americans interacting with the government. Simple tasks like getting a driver’s license or voting can become all-day ordeals, and enrolling in public assistance or insurance programs can drag into weeks and months. It is tempting to chalk these inconveniences up to the inherent nature of bureaucracy, but in reality, many burdens, either by accident or on purpose, disproportionately harm marginalized people. How, then, can recognizing and

Hurricane Harvey: Looking Back and Moving Forward

Date Author Madison Sloan, Director of Disaster Recovery and Fair Housing project, and Meg Duffy, Policy Analyst

Five years ago, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast. Five years later, too many Texans have not recovered; they are still living in storm-damaged houses, without infrastructure that protects them from flooding, and dealing with the trauma of multiple disasters that make every rainstorm a source of anxiety. Texas Appleseed has worked in disaster recovery for more than 15 years; it is increasingly painful to mark yet another storm anniversary knowing people will

Foster youth say bank account access is a missing piece in their transition to independence

Date Author Mary Grace McFarland, Youth Justice Legal Intern, and Martin Martinez, Youth Justice Policy Advocate

Youth aging out of foster care face significant challenges and rely on the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to sufficiently prepare them for independent living. An important part of the transition to independence is financial literacy. Bank accounts allow people to accumulate assets and build credit, which is key to establishing and maintaining financial stability.In our conversations with youth who have aged out of foster care, they felt they lacked essential financial

Do you know about financial wellbeing in Texas?

Date Author Briana Gordley and Ann Baddour

The COVID-19 pandemic and its continuing aftermath has created a lot of financial insecurity for Texans. The Texas Fair Lending Alliance (TFLA), of which Texas Appleseed is a member, just launched a new website to provide timely data about financial wellbeing in Texas and the related harms of payday and auto title loans. It also provides resources and information to empower people to take action. The website offers answers to important questions like: How many

A Path Forward from the Pain of Uvalde

Date Author Andrew Hairston

As our collective pain continues from the heartbreaking tragedy in Uvalde, we hear many similar notes from policymakers about what can or should be done or how it could have been prevented. The common refrain of many is that school safety must be synonymous with school policing and school hardening (i.e., use of metal detectors, facial recognition technology, and unannounced ‘ school safety audits’). We’ve heard it from the Governor, both after Santa Fe and

With Evictions on the Rise, Tenants Risk a Lifetime of Housing Instability. What Can Be Done.

Date Author Brett Merfish

With Texans still struggling to make rent and federal aid running out, eviction filings are on the rise. Some courts have even added dockets to account for this increase. Texas Appleseed’s latest report, The Long-Lasting Impact of Eviction Records, explains that the simple filing of an eviction, regardless of the reason or outcome, can make it hard for people to maintain housing for years and years to come. One housing attorney has started stressing this

Second Chances as Big as Texas: A Twitter Town Hall Hosted by Clean Slate Texas

Date Author Mary Mergler

On April 21, the Clean Slate Texas coalition hosted a Twitter Town Hall, Second Chances as Big as Texas, to discuss breaking down barriers to opportunities for people who have previously been involved in the criminal legal system. All too often, criminal records bar people from housing, employment, education and other necessities, regardless of the offense or how much time has passed. With at least 9 million Texans living with a criminal record, awareness of

Is the Threat Threatening? - Contextualizing Threat Assessments in Texas Schools

Date Author Jacob Morales, Intern, Education Justice Project

Addressing harmful, threatening, or violent behavior in Texas schools under a threat assessment model became the statewide expectation following the enactment of Senate Bill 11 (SB 11) in June 2019. An innovative approach to managing threatening behavior was necessitated by a series of tragic mass shootings in 2018 that set the landscape around conversations of school safety at the time. Here, I am specifically referring to the untimely deaths at high schools in Parkland, Florida

25 Things for 25 Years (No. 3)

Date Author Texas Appleseed

We’re wrapping up our 25th anniversary this year, and it’s been a wonderful celebration! We thank everyone for making it special.In the final part of this three-part blog series, we share what kept us moving during the pandemic, post-pandemic activities we look forward to, and our favorite places to visit in Texas. Name something you did during the pandemic to relax, recharge, or take care of yourself. 1. I made sure that my days had