ALICE report shows 55% of Cenla families living below threshold

People who fall under ALICE cannot afford life’s essentials and are one financial emergency away from poverty.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 10:14 PM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2023 at 10:22 PM CDT
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RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KALB) - Did you know that more than half a million Louisiana households cannot afford the basic necessities despite being employed? That is according to a report from the Louisiana Association of United Ways.

Alice in the Crosscurrents’ is the fifth report released by Louisiana United Ways that documents ALICE, or Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

People who fall under ALICE cannot afford life’s essentials and are one financial emergency away from poverty. The report is the first since COVID-19, multiple natural disasters and rising inflation.

And, though the numbers are not good:

“It is a blueprint for what we need to change,” said Michelle Purl, CEO of the United Way of Central Louisiana.

Purl explains that we first must realize who ALICE is.

“ALICE is not that person on the side of the road asking for money,” explained Purl. “ALICE is your neighbor, your coworker that brings a lunch every day instead of going out for lunch. ALICE is next to you.”

In Rapides Parish, 55% of households are living below the ALICE threshold. Sandra McQuain sits on the advisory committee of the LAUW’s ALICE report. McQuain shared that it is time for us to come together as a state and take action.

“This data is not a United Way problem to solve,” said McQuain. “This is a community call to action. With these numbers trending in such a dramatic direction for Louisiana, I keep saying we have moved from conversations of can we do something, we should do something, to we have to do something.”

So how can we address this issue?

“Our poverty level needs to be raised,” responded Purl.

According to the report, a family of four would need an annual income of $66,000 to live above the ALICE threshold.

“As we can all sit here and say, that is not a common financial piece that many households here have,” added Purl.

That piece she said is just the beginning of a long list of social issues.

“So when we keep asking ourselves why do we have all this crime, and why do we have all these terrible things happening, why don’t people want to come here?” said Purl. “Part of it is just that, if you cannot survive or pay your bills, you are not thinking about the future. You are thinking about the next minute, the next hour, maybe if you are lucky, the next day.”

For more information on the United Way of Central Louisiana’s work, or to see the entire ALICE Report, click here.

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