United Way study reveals problem of working poor in Louisiana

(Source: KALB)
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Alexandria, La. (KALB) They called them "ALICE" -- "asset limited, income constrained and employed." They're people you see everyday -- cashiers, mechanics, waiters and even nurses. News Channel Five's Diamond Davies tells us The United Way is looking to put a stop to their struggles.

Ramona Rogers is out of work again.

"I lost my job and it has been kind of rough,” said Rogers.

But even when she has a job, it's a struggle, especially as she takes care of her six kids.

"It's kind of difficult,” Rogers says. “When you're out there by yourself and have to provide for bills and stuff like that."

She’s not alone. A new report released by the United Way focuses on people just like Rogers -- or as they call them "ALICE." That stands for "asset limited, income constrained and employed."
They are people who work but are unable to afford basic necessities. The data is broken down parish by parish.

In Central Louisiana, 49% of Avoyelles Parish residents fall into the ALICE category.
That's followed by Grant Parish with 47-percent. Rapides Parish with 43% and Vernon Parish with 40%.

"Forty percent of families living in Louisiana are living in an ALICE household. ALICE are people we see every day. They are working hard to provide for their families and themselves, but the reality is they're an emergency away from financial hardship."

The United Way is hoping that this report will help the community better understand their needs.
The president of the United Way of Central Louisiana, David Britt hopes the report will also help people like Rogers get on solid employment ground.

"A lot of us didn't get taught. We kind of had to learn the hard way,” Britt says, “but people in the ALICE category don't necessarily have the margin of error to learn the hard way when they're starting out. Then before they know it they can get in a hole very quickly."

He says the report is a step in the right direction to ending "ALICE" for good.

"No one entity can solve all these problems it’s going to take real collaborative partnerships among all the players in our community,” Britt said.

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