New research shows that in Louisiana, 1,735,620 households – 51 percent – could not afford basic needs such as housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology in 2018, according to the ALICE Report released today by the Louisiana Association of United Ways, in partnership with Louisiana United Ways. This is a 3 percent increase from the previous report released in 2018 with 2016 data, and it is projected to continue to climb due to the health and economic crisis of COVID-19. 33 percent of these households fall into the ALICE threshold, while 18 percent are poverty stricken.
ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed, places a spotlight on a large population of hardworking residents who work at low-paying jobs, have little or no savings, and are one emergency from falling into poverty. These individuals earn more than the Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living for the parish.
“Now more than ever, it is important that we use this crucial tool to gauge the immediate needs of ALICE during these challenging times we are facing,” said Dr. Bruce Willson, UWNWLA President/CEO. “Our hardworking families are not only struggling to afford their basic needs, but they are experiencing furlough, reduced wages, or being laid-off completely. The updated ALICE report will allow us to have a better look at problematic areas in Northwest Louisiana to ensure that we are aiding this vulnerable population the right way.”
The ALICE Report is the most comprehensive depiction of financial need in the state to date, using data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census. The report includes measures, based on present-day income levels and expenses, that show how many Louisiana workers are struggling financially, and why.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed countless ALICE workers provide essential services on the front lines, often times without adequate healthcare access and optimal childcare supports,” said Sarah Berthelot, President/CEO of Louisiana Association of United Ways. “They are our friends, family, and people we rely on every day – through good times and hard times.”
United Way of Northwest Louisiana operates a dozen programs in-house to improve the lives of ALICE families and individuals in the areas of health, education, financial stability and essential needs. The agency helps families save money on prescription medications through FamilyWize, issues free books monthly to children under five through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, offers a confidential 24/7 help line to get connected to local and government resources known as 211, and offers tools to become more financially stable. Most recently they established the United for NWLA Fund, which is an emergency response fund working to help individuals in Northwest Louisiana affected by COVID-19.
United Way of Northwest Louisiana funds 28 local nonprofit programs that help children, adults, veterans and families thrive. If your service organization would like more information about ways to use the ALICE data or work with United Way NWLA on improving the lives of those struggling to make ends meet in this region, please contact the United Way NWLA office.
The ALICE Report for Louisiana provides high-quality, research-based information to foster a better understanding of who is struggling in our communities. To produce the ALICE Report for Louisiana, a team of researchers for the ALICE Project collaborated with a Research Advisory Committee, composed of 24 representatives from around Louisiana, who advised and contributed to the report. This collaborative model, ensures each ALICE Report presents unbiased data that is replicable and sensitive to local context. Working closely with United Ways, the ALICE Project seeks to equip communities with information to create innovative solutions. This ALICE Report for Louisiana is made possible by generous corporate support from the Entergy Corporation.