More than half of NELA families cannot afford the basic household budget

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“It was hard for some people to understand how I was doing so badly and that I had a job. I don’t know what to tell anyone. I’m living it.

“I’m ALICE,” Shalandra White said of how rising rent prices and a series of tough financial choices forced her to move in with her sister.

White, a mother of two, described her experiences as ALICE – Asset Limited. Limited income. Employee. — to a group gathered at United Way headquarters in northeast Louisiana to learn about the latest ALICE report released by the statewide association.

“I work for ARCO,” White said. “I worked for ARCO for about a year and nine months. … When I started, I had a house.”

Shalandra White gets a hug after speaking about her personal financial struggles during the 2018 ALICE Report at the United Way of Northeast Louisiana office in Monroe, Louisiana on January 15.  The report details the financial instability of working families in Louisiana and when White was evicted from her home, along with her two children, due to her rising rent despite salary increases from her job, she became the person exact as detailed in the report.

The new income from his job led to an increase in White’s monthly rent payments. Difficult decisions about which bills to pay followed.

“I made all the choices,” White said. “There were times when me and my kids had no lights, no gas, no water because I think we have to pay this rent because we need a place to stay.

Several months the rent was paid first and utilities were cut. Other times it was rent, and one of those times late fees accrued, and White received an eviction notice.

“I’m living in the moment now,” White said at the end of her story. “I’m at work, the kids are at school and I’m still struggling to figure out where we’re going. ‘Are we going to stay here tomorrow?’ It’s difficult when you have two children and you do it alone.”

ALICE’s latest report shows it’s hard for a single mom with two kids to afford the bare necessities, but it also shows it’s hard for 48% of all Louisiana households to get by.

Sarah Berthelot, president and CEO of the Louisiana Association of United Ways, said a quantifiable budget serves as the basis for the ALICE report.

This budget includes the cost of housing, child care, food, transportation, technology, and state, parish, and city taxes. Savings are not included. Also omitted are preventative maintenance costs, such as new tires for a car, or ongoing expenses for many, such as the cost of a birthday present or cable.

This survival budget is used to establish the salaries necessary for various households to make ends meet.

The most recent report updates data from 2013 to 2016 and highlights a large population of residents who work hard and work in low-paying jobs, have little or no savings and are one step away from falling into poverty. poverty.

In 2016, the federal poverty level was $11,880 for a one-person household and $24,300 for a four-person household. Berthelot said the survival budget is very different from those numbers.

“When we talk about ALICE,” she said. “We’re talking about the household that earns about the federal poverty level but below what it takes to make this very basic budget.

“…Inevitably, if you can’t make that basic survival budget, the family is forced to make choices between those basics, so it’s very common for ALICE to make a choice between medicine and services. public, or to make a choice between rent and food.”

In Louisiana, 29% of households fell into the ALICE bracket while 19% were at or below the poverty line.

The 48% at or below ALICE statewide in 2016 represents a 7% increase from 41% in 2010.

Berthelot said several factors are contributing to the increase, including inflation and the number of people in low-wage jobs.

The most popular job in Louisiana in 2016 was cashier. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70,710 held the job with an average hourly wage of $8.87.

The fourth most popular job in the state is the number one with an hourly wage above $12.00 an hour – 44,620 registered nurses earning an average hourly wage of $29.24.

Northeast Louisiana Data

In northeast Louisiana, the percentage of households below the ALICE threshold exceeds the state average of 9%.

Fifty-seven percent of those living in the 12 United Way of NELA parishes cannot meet a basic survival budget according to the report. 27 percent are at or below the poverty line while 30 percent are ALICE.

East Carroll Parish is both the poorest parish in the region and state with 75% of households at ALICE level or below. Ouachita Parish is at 58% with 31,522 of 54,349 households struggling to afford the state cost of living.

Janet Durden, president of United Way of Northeast Louisiana, said ALICE’s first study looked at data from 2013.

Sarah Berthelot, president and CEO of the Louisiana Association of United Ways, points to a graphic detailing the findings of the 2018 ALICE report at the United Way of Northeast Louisiana office in Monroe, La., Jan. 15.  The report details the financial instability of working families in La.

“In the 2013 data, 49% was at or below ALICE in northeast Louisiana,” Durden said. “With three years of data, we’ve grown eight percent in our region.”

During a Tuesday discussion of the report, experts were asked whether the 2016 flooding in northeast Louisiana contributed to the increased numbers and whether the 2018 data, which will be presented in a report ALICE in 2020 will show improvement.

Bob Eisenstadt, director of the Monroe Center for Business and Economics Research at the University of Louisiana, serves on the research advisory board for the ALICE report.

He described the 2016 flood may cause a minor change in data. He also said it was possible that the number of ALICE households would shrink in a future study due to wage growth as unemployment averages fell.

Davy Norris Jr., director of research and innovation at Louisiana Tech University, said the impacts of the flood likely showed up in the total number of ALICE households, but that’s small and not changing. the overall story.

“The thing is, we live in a state with 2016 showing 48% statewide, 48% in Ouachita Parish, 57% in northeast Louisiana,” Eisenstadt said. “If you show a change of one or two or three percentage points, we’re still looking at better than 50 per cent.”

Blake Wheelis, chairman of the United Way board, said community volunteers work to serve ALICE and make things better, but it hasn’t been enough.

“We need to do more because this population is growing,” Wheelis continued.

According to the report, communities need to consider a series of system changes to help ALICE overcome short-term downturns and become more financially secure in the long term to have a positive impact on the group.

United Way of NELA strives to help ALICE individuals and families through a variety of programs.

These include financial literacy events such as Dollars & $ense reality fairs at area schools and partnerships with other local agencies to provide free services such as food, shelter, assistance with health issues and transportation to ALICE and their families.

United Way also offers 2-1-1, a free and confidential service that helps people connect to local resources. To reach the service, dial 211 or visit www.211.org.

A member of the 2018 ALICE report audience thumbs through the report booklet at the United Way of Northeast Louisiana office in Monroe, La., on January 15.  The report details the financial instability of working families in Los Angeles.

Parish statistics

Caldwell

  • Survival budget: $18,644 for a single person; $26,772 married couple; $45,192 family of four
  • Households at or below the ALICE line: 2,181 or 60% (29% or lower poverty line; 31% ALICE or lower)

East Carroll

  • Survival budget: $18,300 for single person; $25,872 married couple; $45,192 family of four
  • Households at or below the ALICE line: 1,918 or 75% (poverty line 47% or lower; 28% ALICE or lower)

franklin

  • Survival budget: $18,072 for single person; $25,656 married couple; $45,192 family of four
  • Households at or below the ALICE line: 4,061 or 54% (27% or lower poverty line; 27% ALICE or lower)

jackson

  • Survival budget: $18,072 for single person; $25,656 married couple; $45,192 family of four
  • Households at or below the ALICE line: 2,905 or 48% (25% or lower poverty line; 23% ALICE or lower)

lincoln

  • Survival budget: $20,220 for a single person; $27,816 married couple; $46,908 family of four
  • Households at or below the ALICE line: 9,601 or 56% (poverty line 31% or lower; 25% ALICE or lower)

Madison

  • Survival budget: $18,072 for single person; $25,656 married couple; $45,192 family of four
  • Households at or below the ALICE line: 2,693 or 66% (poverty line 38% or less; 28% ALICE or less)

morehouse

  • Survival budget: $18,432 for a single person; $26,004 married couple; $45,192 family of four
  • Households at or below the ALICE line: 6,061 or 59% (28% or lower poverty line; 31% ALICE or lower)

Ouachita

  • Survival budget: $20,280 for a single person; $27,960 married couple; $49,068 family of four
  • Households at or below the ALICE line: 31,522 or 58% (25% or lower poverty line; 33% ALICE or lower)

earth-rich

  • Survival budget: $18,072 for single person; $25,656 married couple; $45,192 family of four
  • Households at or below the ALICE line: 3,866 or 51% (23% or lower poverty line; 28% ALICE or lower)

Tensas

  • Survival budget: $18,072 for single person; $25,656 married couple; $45,192 family of four
  • Households at or below the ALICE line: 1,281 or 66% (poverty line 33% or lower; 33% ALICE or lower)

union

  • Survival budget: $20,280 for a single person; $27,888 married couple; $47,808 family of four
  • Households at or below the ALICE line: 4,507 or 55% (24% or lower poverty line; 31% ALICE or lower)

carroll west

  • Survival budget: $16,848 for a single person; $25,656 married couple; $45,192 family of four
  • Households at or below the ALICE line: 2,051 or 49% (20% or lower poverty line; 29% ALICE or lower)
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