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Debt

Series

Driven into Debt

How Tickets Burden the Poor

Too Broke for Bankruptcy

How Bankruptcy Fails Those Who Need It Most

Debt Inc.

Lending and Collecting in America

Foreclosure Crisis

How Banks and Government Fail Homeowners

Stories

Chicago City Council Approves Modest First Reforms on Ticketing and Debt

The changes signal a growing acknowledgement that the city’s reliance on fines and fees to generate revenue has come at a significant cost for some residents.

Top Chicago Alderman Adds to Growing Momentum for Ticket and Debt Reform

The proposal, the latest in a series of reforms aiming to respond to growing public pressure, would make it easier for motorists to avoid having their driver’s licenses suspended.

Chicago Considers Wiping Away Old Ticket Debt for Motorists Who File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The proposal is intended to discourage drivers from filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but it does nothing to change onerous payment plans for motorists who don’t file at all.

Chicago Alderman Proposes Reining in Ticket Penalties That Drove Thousands of Black Motorists Into Debt

The proposal would cap late penalties and create community service alternatives to some fines.

Chicago City Clerk Calls for Reforms of Vehicle Sticker Program

Anna Valencia proposed creating city sticker options so low-income drivers can afford to be in compliance and avoid costly tickets.

Download Chicago’s Parking Ticket Data Yourself

For the first time, the city’s database, which tracks more than 28 million parking and vehicle compliance tickets, is easily available to the public.

What’s the City of Chicago Doing About Its Problem With Duplicate Sticker Tickets?

Seven weeks after the city pledged to address the issue, drivers are still on the hook — and now Chicago’s ticketing practices are becoming an issue in the mayor’s race.

The “Terrible” Consequences of Chicago’s Ticketing Policies

The city tried to raise revenues by hiking the cost of sticker tickets, but instead hurt motorists in low-income, black neighborhoods.

Chicago Hiked the Cost of Vehicle City Sticker Violations to Boost Revenue. But It’s Driven More Low-Income, Black Motorists Into Debt.

Now, a former official regrets the move and wants the city to revisit it. Some policies, she said, are “terrible.”

How ProPublica Illinois and WBEZ Worked Together to Find Thousands of Duplicate Tickets in Chicago

We heard from you about how ticket debt, especially from $200 city sticker citations, has affected you. And we would like your help as we continue our reporting.

Chicago Begins To Rethink How Bankruptcy Lawyers Get Paid

Judges are demanding that lawyers tell their clients that their other debts might not get paid, but their lawyers will.

Some States No Longer Suspend Driver’s Licenses for Unpaid Fines. Will Illinois Join Them?

Our analysis shows suspensions tied to ticket debt disproportionately affect motorists in largely black sections of Chicago and its suburbs.

She Owed $102,158.40 in Unpaid Tickets, but She’s Not in the Story

Still, we want to tell you a little bit about her, and about some of the other people we interviewed, because they helped inform our ticket debt investigation.

How Chicago Ticket Debt Sends Black Motorists Into Bankruptcy

A cash-strapped city employs punitive measures to collect from cash-strapped black residents — and lawyers benefit.

The Many Roads to Bankruptcy

Here are some stories of Chicagoans driven into ticket debt.

Without Fanfare, Equifax Makes Bankruptcy Change That Affects Hundreds of Thousands

For years, an Equifax policy has treated some Chapter 13 filers differently than the other two major credit rating agencies. After ProPublica asked about it, the company said it would change the policy.

Chicago’s Bankruptcy Boom

ProPublica’s analysis of racial disparities in bankruptcy revealed a skyrocketing number of filings in Chicago’s black neighborhoods. But most of the cases will fall apart before the debts are wiped away.

Bankruptcy: What’s the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?

Key differences between the chapters make choosing the right one critical for success. Using our analysis, we explain how they work and how people fare under each.

In the South, Bankruptcy Is Different, Especially for Black Debtors

Only in the South is Chapter 13 the predominant form of bankruptcy. We mapped Chapter 13’s usage to show that it breaks not only along regional, but also racial lines.

Data Analysis: Bankruptcy and Race in America

An in-depth discussion of racial patterns in bankruptcy filings and outcomes

Have You Seriously Considered Filing for Bankruptcy?

If you’ve really thought about filing for bankruptcy, ProPublica wants to hear from you — even if you ultimately decided against it.

How the Bankruptcy System Is Failing Black Americans

Black people struggling with debts are far less likely than their white peers to gain lasting relief from bankruptcy, according to a ProPublica analysis. Primarily to blame is a style of bankruptcy practiced by lawyers in the South.

The Color of Debt: How Collection Suits Squeeze Black Neighborhoods

In a first-of-its-kind analysis, ProPublica reveals that the suits are far more common in black communities than white ones.

How We Analyzed Racial Disparity in Debt Collection Lawsuits

An explanation of how we analyzed whether debt collection lawsuits disproportionately impact black communities.

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