United Way ALICE Report Details Size and Scope of Financial Hardship on Florida’s Central West Coast
For Immediate Release
CEOs for the above five United Way organizations, as well as local individuals and families representing ALICE, are available for interviews. To coordinate such, please reach out to the respective contact of your local United Way office (contact information is found at end of release).
To read a copy of the report and find county-by-county and town-level data on the size and demographics of ALICE, as well as the community conditions and costs faced by ALICE households, please visit www.UnitedWayALICE.org. The case-sensitive password is “LiveUnited”.
FLORIDA’S CENTRAL WEST COAST (November 11, 2014) – More than 600,000 households on Florida’s Central West Coast (Citrus, DeSoto, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota counties) – 44 percent of total households – are unable to consistently afford the cost of living in Florida, with conditions still lagging behind pre-recession levels, according to the United Way ALICE Report released today by United Way of Florida.
ALICE – Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed; Study of Financial Hardship places a spotlight on a large population of residents who are motivated and working hard, yet struggle to consistently afford basic living expenses, have little or no savings, and may be one setback away from falling into poverty. The report is the most comprehensive depiction of financial need in the state to date, using recent data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census. The report unveils new measures, based on present-day income levels and expenses, which quantify the size of who in Florida’s workforce is struggling financially, and why.
A total of 29 percent of households on Florida’s Central West Coast fall into what United Way calls the ALICE population. These are households earning more than the official U.S. poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living. This number is nearly double the regional poverty rate, which accounts for 15 percent of households in the region. Combined, 44 percent of households on Florida’s Central West Coast region fall into the ALICE or poverty threshold.
“We all know ALICE,” said United Way Suncoast CEO, Suzanne McCormick. “ALICE is the recent college grad, the young family with high child-care costs and the underemployed mid-career professional. While ALICE works hard and is vital to our state’s future economic well-being, they face barriers that hinder their ability to get ahead. This report gives United Way and our community greater insight into the needs that exist and underscores the importance of our mission: To provide ALICE and those in poverty access to educational and financial programs to help them break free and achieve a better, more secure life.”
This report provides the objective data that explains why so many residents are struggling to survive and the challenges they face in attempting to make ends meet. Until now, the true picture of need in local communities and states has been understated and obscured by misleading averages and outdated poverty statistics.
The United Way ALICE Report reveals information such as:
§ The average income needed in order to survive on Florida’s Central West Coast depends on local conditions and ranges from $37,000 (DeSoto) to $54,000 (Pinellas) annually for a family of four, more than double the official U.S. poverty rate.
§ Affordable, quality housing and childcare represent a major financial challenge for ALICE families as the combined expense represents between 47 percent (Hillsborough and Pasco) and 59 percent (DeSoto) of a monthly family survival budget depending on location.
§ ALICE is men and women, young and old, of all races, closely mirroring the state’s basic demographic make-up. 38 percent are within their prime earning years of 45 to 64 years old, leading to increased financial risks as they exit their working years.
§ Florida faces an economy dominated by lower-paying career options. Only 31 percent of jobs in Florida pay more than $20 an hour. Most jobs pay between $10 and $15 per hour, and this economic condition is not projected to change in the foreseeable future.
“The ALICE study provides a new lens through which leaders, governments, employers and non-profit organizations can view our community,” said Philip A. Brown, president of United Way of Manatee County. “As we prioritize, make policy decisions, consider plans for the growth and development of our communities – in both the short- and long-term – the ALICE report allows us to take into account how many of us are ALICE and below, and permits our decisions, policy considerations, and rigorous dialogue and debate to be better informed knowing that ALICE exists and that ALICE is all around us.”
United Way is focused on providing the basic foundation in the areas of education, financial stability and health to help ALICE and those in poverty gain access to opportunities to improve their lives and for the long-term benefit of the wider community.
“The release of the ALICE report provides another tool to inform the work of United Way and highlights the importance of the work we do every day to support collaborations and programs that help hard-working, yet struggling, families,” said Duggan Cooley, president/CEO of United Way of Pasco County.
For more information or to find data about ALICE in our local communities, visit the local United Way websites listed below. For more information on ALICE reports in other states, visit www.UnitedWayALICE.org.
About the ALICE Report
United Ways in six states commissioned Rutgers University-Newark, School of Public Affairs and Administration, under the leadership of Dean Marc Holzer, to conduct the ALICE research. The reports build on a United Way study first developed in New Jersey. United Way ALICE Reports provide county-by-county and town-level data, and analysis of how many households are struggling, including the obstacles ALICE households face on the road to financial independence. The United Way ALICE Report was funded in part by corporate sponsors including AT&T, Atlantic Health System, Deloitte, Novartis and The UPS Foundation.
About the Independent United Ways on Florida’s Central West Coast
United Way of Citrus County For nearly 20 years, United Way of Citrus County has served the people of our community by focusing on education, income, and health, because these are the building blocks for a good life. As United Way of Citrus County has evolved, we are much more than a fundraiser. Researcher. Educator. Convener. Provider. United Way of Citrus County looks for solutions to what our community needs and partners with agencies, government and business leaders to invest in and create long-lasting change. For more information, call (352) 795-LIVE, or visit www.CitrusUnitedWay.org.
United Way of Manatee County (www.UWMC.net) helps to create a stronger community where all residents have the opportunity to thrive. By focusing our efforts on education, income and health, United Way makes an impact on those who need it most. United Way fortifies the cornerstones of our community while approaching underlying causes of these issues in a holistic manner to create deep, lasting change. To achieve the greatest impact, the United Way develops diverse resources and partnerships and then applies consolidated efforts into precise programs and initiatives that contribute to improving the quality of life for individuals and families. For additional information, please contact Angela Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 941-748-1313.
United Way of Pasco County (UWPC) was founded in 1982 and since that time has raised millions of dollars to address some of Pasco County’s most critical community needs. As an organization, UWPC is committed to advancing the common good in Pasco County through collaboration and partnership with highly-effective nonprofit programs in the community. UWPC brings together people from all across the community – government, business, faith groups, nonprofits, labor and ordinary citizens – to tackle the issues that matter most. The organization is headquartered in Land O’Lakes, Fla.
United Way of South Sarasota County creates and has ongoing relationships with individuals, private and public sector companies and organizations who, through their financial support, enable the United Way of South Sarasota County to support twenty-eight local agencies that provide funding for thirty-seven programs. These programs are geared towards helping children, adults and seniors in crisis to a better opportunity in the communities of Venice, Englewood, North Port, Laurel, Nokomis and Osprey. For more information, call 941-484-4811 or visit www.UWSSC.org.
United Way Suncoast volunteers, staff, and trusted community partners serve DeSoto, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota counties by developing, enhancing and implementing services and programs to help create a stronger, more vibrant community. United Way Suncoast is changing the community’s story by helping to break the cycle of generational poverty through educational programs that give children the skills to succeed and help adults achieve long-term financial stability, as well as provide support services to those who need it most. For more information, call 941.366.2686 (Sarasota office) or 813.274.0933 (Tampa office), or visit www.unitedwaysuncoast.org. To find Suncoast-area volunteer opportunities, visit www.volunteersuncoast.org.