ALICE Summit Outlines Region’s Financial Hardship

Did you know 3 out of 5 families are struggling to make ends meet in some zip codes in Manatee, DeSoto and Sarasota Counties?

Did you know 43% of working households cannot cover basic needs such as housing, child care, food, transportation and health care? The ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Report, released in February, details the complex challenges the ALICE population faces. The cost of basic household needs has been increasing steadily, outpacing the rate of inflation and wage growth. Low-wage jobs dominate the employment landscape, while 29% of workers need a second job to support themselves and their families. In our area, 19,000 households with children are single earners, and are significantly more likely to be struggling.

Since 2014, the ALICE Report has been released by The United Ways of Florida’s central west coast (Citrus, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota counties). By raising awareness among the general public and lawmakers, we hope to reverse the trend and improve conditions for this growing population of families living paycheck to paycheck.

On April 8th, our Director of Workforce Development and Financial Stability Initiatives, Doug Griesenauer hosted an ALICE Summit in which he shared these findings with community leaders and members. By discussing how and why economic recovery isn’t happening equally for everyone, he emphasized, we can better discuss the financial needs of our community.

Take a walk with ALICE to experience real life examples of the difficult budget decisions some of us have to make each month. By working together to address the big issues around housing, transportation and skilled employment opportunities, we can work towards a stronger region.