ALICE refers to the population in our communities that are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. The ALICE report (developed by Rutgers University) calls attention to a population that represents those among us who earn either just enough to get by or are not quite making ends meet. It is the people we see working every day such as hospitality workers, daycare teachers, landscapers and so forth. Their incomes simply don’t meet the cost of living between child care costs, transportation and rent payments which forces them to live paycheck to paycheck. This “working poor” population adds up to more than 203,000 households in the tri-county area.
ALICE families earn more than the federal poverty level, but according to the report, make less than the basic cost of living. When combined with the poverty population, it makes up 45% of Central Florida’s population can’t make ends meet. That means nearly half of your friends, neighbors and co-workers are struggling to afford food, their housing, childcare and transportation.
United Ways in six states commissioned Rutgers University-Newark, School of Public Affairs and Administration to conduct the ALICE research. The report was funded by grants from AT&T, Atlantic Health System, Deloitte, FamilyWize, Novartis, Post Foods and The UPS Foundation.
This is a population that United Way has always aimed to serve, but this new report helps focus on the overall economic health of our community, which could immensely help improve the livelihood of ALICE. The awareness brought by this report can bring business and community leaders together to find resolutions for housing, childcare, healthcare and transportation issues which will help bring incomes more in line with the cost of living.
• Central Florida needs more than 95,000 affordable rental units to meet the current demand for affordable homes, with more than 65,000 of those needed in Orange County.
• Florida became less affordable from 2007 to 2012. Despite the Great Recession, the cost of basic housing, child care, transportation, food and healthcare increased by 13%.
• Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties all rank in the bottom 1/3 of counties in Florida for overall housing affordability, with Orange County being the 4th worst in the state.
• Orange, Seminole and Osceola all rank in the top 1/3 of counties in Florida for job creation.
• 69% of all jobs in Florida pay less than $20 an hour with most paying between $10 and $15 an hour. The jobs forecast shows that low-skill and low-paying jobs will dominate Florida’s future if the economy continues on its current trajectory.
• Of the ALICE population in Osceola County, 47% are homeowners and 1/3 of homeowners are cost burdened (pay more than 35% of their income on their mortgage). Likewise, in Orange County 39% of the ALICE population owns homes, with 29% cost burdened; and in Seminole County 34% own with 27% cash burdened.
• A significant majority of households below the ALICE threshold rent (69% Orange County, 62% Seminole County, 71% Osceola County). Approximately half of all renters are cost-burdened (pay more than 35% of their income on their rent).
What does it cost to afford the basic necessities? The bare-minimum household survival budget does not include any savings, leaving a household vulnerable to unexpected expenses. ALICE households typically earn above the U.S. poverty rate of $11,770 for a single adult and $23,250 for a family of four, but less than the household survival budget. That means that these families struggle to put food on the table, pay for electric to heat their homes and put gas in their cars. These are all things many of take for granted, but for ALICE….. these can seem more like a privilege.
Our goal is to ensure ALICE families do not slip through the cracks. By helping them succeed, our whole region will succeed. Join us to take a stand for ALICE. United, we can make a difference for them and our community as a whole.
First, we must raise awareness. By using the ALICE report to educate people, we can make informed decisions as a community that will positively impact ALICE. When we advocate for ALICE, we are making sure every person in our community has the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
|Additional ALICE resources|