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The Journal Gazette

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Friday, September 14, 2018 1:00 am

United Way turns focus to struggling families

David Nicole

David Nicole is president and CEO of United Way of Allen County. 

To learn more See how the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population in Indiana is faring at www.unitedwayallencounty.org/ALICE.

In 2014, in partnership with Rutgers University, United Ways in five different states came together to provide our local communities with the ALICE Report. The report uses data from the American Community Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics at the U.S. Department of Labor, and various other state and national data sources to determine what it takes for a household to survive financially.

The ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population are hardworking individuals making even harder personal decisions every day. These families make up the backbone of our community – they teach our youngest children, they care for our seniors, they serve us in restaurants and they clean our buildings. These are not lazy individuals; these are reliable, industrious, proud individuals whose schedules boggle the mind and whose ingenuity in stretching a dollar would be welcome in any boardroom.

United Way of Allen County is eager to share with our community the 2018 update of the ALICE Report. A couple of key highlights:

• Nearly one in four families in Allen County work hard but struggle to make ends meet.

• In Allen County, the financial stability line for a family of four (two adults, one infant, one toddler) is $53,000, a 23 percent increase from 2010. For comparison, the federal poverty level for a family of four is $24,300.

• The number of households in Allen County living below the financial stability line and above the federal poverty line dropped from 33,300 households to 31,400, a 5.7 percent decrease.

• More than a third of our community cannot afford the basic costs of living in Allen County.

The decrease in the number of ALICE households between 2014 and 2016 shows us that change is possible. United Way of Allen County shifted our focus this past May; we fight to remove the barriers facing families that are working hard but struggling to survive. The 2018 ALICE Report reinforces our focus.

We invite you to join the fight for ALICE families. We are looking for individuals willing to raise their hand and get involved. Do you want to determine how United Way best invests dollars in ALICE-focused programming throughout our community? Do you want to use your voice to stand up for ALICE-related issues at the Statehouse? Do you want to contribute financially to ALICE-centered work? If so, join us as we fight for ALICE families by emailing us at info@uwacin.org or visit our website at www.unitedwayallencounty.org.

Together, we can change our community.