The Core Blog

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


COVID-19 and Our Most Vulnerable Communities

Date Author Brennan Griffin, Deputy Director

COVID-19 will have devastating impact on low-income communities and communities of color unless there is a robust policy response. We know that these vulnerable communities have a higher proportion of medically fragile people who are at greater risk of complications and death from the coronavirus. Many of the people in these communities live paycheck to paycheck and work in jobs that do not have paid sick leave or paid family leave. Without the reliability of

The Real Solution is Housing the Homeless, not Criminalization

Date Author Brennan Griffin

The Austin City Council and Mayor Adler did the right thing by limiting the scope of city ordinances that criminally punish sitting, lying down and camping. Protecting the dignity and humanity of every person should be a guiding principle in Austin, and their actions made progress towards that goal. Cities across Texas should look at similar limitations they have in place, and whether they are criminalizing homelessness itself. While the changes in the ordinances may

#HarrisThrives - 2 Years After Hurricane Harvey

Date Author Brennan Griffin

On the second anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Harvey on the Texas coast, Texas Appleseed and our allies in the Houston Organizing Movement for Equity (HOME) coalition and the Coalition for Environment, Equity, and Resilience (CEER) have come together to support a just recovery and flood protection and mitigation for all Harris County neighborhoods. All of our neighborhoods deserve the same level of safety and infrastructure, from protection from flooding to air quality, from

How the Juvenile Curfew Harmed Me and Why it Hurts Families

Date Author Guest Columnist Kimberly Trishell

Though I’m well past my teen years and am a mom now, I am still scarred by my experience with the juvenile justice system and the Houston juvenile curfew ordinance. Everything that I do — from how I raise my children to how I simply move through the world — is influenced by how I felt targeted by the police in my youth simply for being black and young. At first glance, the curfew ordinance

Reflections on New Report Detailing the Financial Health of Families

Date Author Ellen Stone and Ann Baddour

The San Antonio Area Asset Funders Network, in partnership with Texas Appleseed, has released Insights, Aspirations, and Action: Investing in Asset Building for San Antonio Families. The report leverages data analysis, a survey with San Antonio nonprofit providers, and focus groups with San Antonio residents to provide recommendations for stakeholders to boost financial well being and asset building for San Antonio families. The report, which covered economic mobility, financial health, employment, housing, education and health

86th Legislative Session Delivers Important Wins for Consumer Financial Protection Despite Powerful Lobby Efforts in Support of Predatory Lending Practices

Date Author Ann Baddour

In collaboration with a network of allies and partners, including members of the Texas Fair Lending Alliance, progress was made in the areas of debt collection reform, accountability in the online lending arena, and through whittling away at the ability of rent-to-own businesses to misuse our criminal justice system by filing criminal complaints to collect delinquent debts. Equally important, our coalition was able to stop harmful assaults that would have preempted beneficial local payday and

The Good, the Good-ish & the Bad Out of Texas’ 86th Session Related to School Discipline & Safety

Date Author Andrew Hairston

When it comes to legislative action during the 86th session on bills related to school discipline and school safety, there’s good news, good-ish news, and bad news. Let’s start with the good news. The Good News: Legislative Focus on Research-Based Practices and Mental & Behavioral Health Supports The Good news is that — with one glaring exception that we’ll discuss later — the Texas Legislature was very much attuned to a focus on research-based practices

Houston Must Support Young People by Decriminalizing Its Juvenile Curfew

Date Author Kristian Caballero

With the Houston City Council set to vote on its juvenile curfew ordinance July 17, we have spearheaded a juvenile justice coalition made up of a wide range of advocates.Our goal has been to support young people and provide education about the harms of curfew ordinances to ultimately end unnecessary policies that do nothing to benefit youth. See below how you can join us at a public hearing July 10. Background The juvenile curfew ordinance

Legislative Progress for Homeless Youth and Children in Foster Care

Date Author Brett M. Merfish

During the 86th legislative session, the Texas Legislature passed bills that recognize the challenges students experiencing homelessness face at school. HB 811 states that homelessness status and foster care status are considered when school administrators make any discipline decision for kids. The trauma and instability children in foster care and those experiencing homelessness face can affect their behavior at school. By recognizing what factors might be contributing to kids’ behavior, this bill aims to help

What Went Right with Criminal Justice Reform in the 86th Session

Date Author Mary Mergler

The 86th Texas legislative session was a disappointing one for progress on criminal justice reform. Issues that Texas Appleseed had prioritized going into session failed to pass. Comprehensive bail reform was derailed by the introduction of a weaker bill with the Governor’s backing. A bill to reduce driver’s license suspensions for unpaid fines didn’t even get a hearing; the private vendor that administers the suspension program aggressively lobbied against any changes, eager to protect their

New Texas Law, First in Nation, Helps Victims of Coerced Debt Access Identity Theft Protections

Date Author Ann Baddour and Marissa Jeffery

Texas State Senator Judith Zaffirini and State Representative Morgan Meyer spearheaded the effort this session to pass HB 2697. This new law, which goes into effect September 1, is an important step forward to combat coerced debt and help survivors of domestic violence and financial abuse achieve economic stability. Coerced debt is debt incurred by an abuser in the name of a victim of domestic violence or financial abuse. It affects as many as one

Our Glass is Half Full: Wins & Losses from the Lege

Date Author Deborah Fowler

This month, on the heels of the end of the Texas legislature’s 86th session, Texas Appleseed will launch a campaign aimed at engaging our friends and supporters in considering what justice means to them. Our “Justice Is” campaign will not be just an opportunity to hear what justice looks like to the Texans we work for and alongside of — it is an opportunity for us to think deeply about how our work at Appleseed