Making Ends Meet in Manor

Meet the Maldonado Family – they live in the Manor area in Austin, Far East on 290. Benito, Sr. and Leonor are parents to Benito, Jr. (15,) Brenda (12) and Blue Emmy (1 mo.)

Like the Salazar Family, they face a unique set of economic challenges and rely on their community for support. Benito, Sr. works two jobs to make ends meet for the family, but it can still be a struggle to manage everyday expenses in addition to the cost of housing and utilities.

It takes about fifty thousand dollars for just a family of four to break even in Austin, so the Maldonados rarely have enough money at the end of the month after covering their rent, food, childcare, car insurance, bills and more.

The Maldonados aren’t alone – half of all people in the Manor neighborhood spend 1/3 or more of their income on housing. And as temperatures rise during the blistering Texas summer, it can be tricky to keep up with high utility bills. Luckily, the Maldonado family is able to utilize our Navigation Center, where dialing 2-1-1 will connect them to local resources that can help them pay these high bills so that their utilities are not disconnected. 


For a family of four to break even in Austin


Renters in Manor who spend 1/3 or more of income on housing

The Maldonados have considered using payday loans when they’re behind on bills, but this can cost them $1,000’s in annual fees to predatory lenders. Through our Financial Opportunity program, they have the option to find safe and low-cost loans and can even start to build savings.

Blue Emmy, the youngest member of the family, is just one month old. As she grows, she and her mom can attend parent/child education courses supported by our Success By 6 program. Baby Blue will have the opportunity to learn a variety of skills she needs in order to be kindergarten-ready, while her mother, Leonor, will receive parenting lessons to help make her an even better mom.

The quality of early care that children receive during the first years of their life is a strong predictor of their chances of graduating from high school. We’ve helped thousands of young children prepare for school and 88 percent of them are now developmentally on-target and more likely to succeed in the classroom.


Benito, Jr. is a former student of Decker Middle School, where our Target Graduation program has developed a system of social services to keep students on the path to graduating. Benito, Jr. is now in high school and well on his way to receiving a diploma!

Leonor feels that the coordinated services he received from this program helped her communicate better with her son and feel more involved in his life.

Middle school makes a big difference: students that fall behind there are seven times more likely not to graduate from high school. Graduates earn $200K more over a lifetime than students who do not earn a diploma.

Like all of us, the Maldonados want to make the best life for their family. They face barriers such as tight budgets and limited time. Luckily, they have the support for their community to thrive.

Thousands of families like the Maldonados are struggling in our own back yard. Join UWATX in supporting these families and making Austin greater – donate now!

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