(WTTW News)

When it comes to paying off that debt, Black and Latino graduates are struggling. Nearly half of Black students owe an average of 12.5% more than they borrowed, according to the Education Data Initiative.

(WTTW News)
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Chris Javier, a deacon at Chinese Christian Union Church, has been working on developing safety plans for residents in the community. Going door to door, he’s been educating residents on how to keep themselves protected against the rise in hate crimes, scams and more.

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Everything about one’s experience of living in Chicago can be traced back to segregation and race, according to community leader José Rico, executive director of Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Chicago.

Tonika Johnson, pictured in 2020, created the Folded Map project to correct misconceptions about certain neighborhoods in Chicago. (WTTW News)
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Since we first met Tonika Lewis Johnson in 2020, she has expanded the Folded Map project — adding workshops, a play and a movie.

A homeless encampment in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Chicago’s homeless population would receive significant funding and support from the city under Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s budget proposal. As part of our “Firsthand: Living in Poverty” series, we take a look at how that money would be allocated.

A food pantry in Woodridge. (WTTW News)

As part of our “Firsthand: Living in Poverty” series, we hear about the current state of food insecurity in Chicago — and possible solutions to the problem.

(WTTW News)

Families living in poverty are more likely to be involved with the child welfare system, according to a recent brief from the University of Chicago. As part of our “Firsthand: Living in Poverty” series, we look at the barriers facing families that need financial assistance.

(WTTW News)

Community organizations and state lawmakers are working to make menstrual products more accessible to Illinoisans who need them. We take a look at the issue in our Firsthand: Living in Poverty series.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository supplies food pantries across the Chicago area. (WTTW News)

The Greater Chicago Food Depository, which supplies food pantries across the area, says in its more than 40-year history it has never seen a hunger crisis like the one caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We discuss the issue as part of WTTW’s Firsthand initiative exploring poverty.

(Photo by Aaron Doucett on Unsplash)

The U.S. poverty rate last month reached its highest point during the pandemic at 11.7%, according to researchers at the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame. We discuss the issue as part of WTTW’s Firsthand initiative exploring poverty.

(WTTW News via CNN)

Two bills in the Illinois General Assembly would expand eligibility for the earned income tax credit. As part of our Firsthand initiative exploring poverty in Chicago, we take a look at the credit, and what it could mean for low-income households.

Labor activists join some public officials downtown for a rally in support of raising the minimum wage in August 2019. (WTTW News)

The latest COVID-19 relief bill could come up for a vote in Congress as early as next week, but a key Democratic priority might be on the chopping block. We explore the potential impact of raising the minimum wage.

(WTTW News)

When Illinois required businesses to shut down last March because of the coronavirus pandemic, many workers were left without an income. Now, researchers say they are seeing a dramatic increase in poverty.

A still image taken from “Firsthand: Living in Poverty.” (WTTW)

Poverty is not just an urban issue. We speak with Lake County resident Gary Ladehoff, who is featured in WTTW’s new documentary series “Firsthand: Living in Poverty,” and Maggie Morales of the Lake County Community Foundation.

 A still image taken from “Firsthand: Living in Poverty.” (WTTW)

Long before the coronavirus pandemic, communities of color across Illinois and in Chicago were experiencing an epidemic of poverty. We discuss the root causes of poverty and what public officials are doing to address it.

(nosheep / Pixabay)

What are basic income payments, and why do some advocates say they can help families in poverty reach their financial goals? We discuss the concept as part of WTTW’s new “Firsthand: Living in Poverty” initiative.