The new ALICE report shows that in Louisiana, 828,255 households — 48 percent — could not afford basic needs such as housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology in 2016.
In Northwest Louisiana, 28 percent of households are ALICE and 23 percent live in poverty as defined by the Federal Poverty guidelines.
Click here for the data on ALICE thresholds by parish.
The report was released Tuesday by the Louisiana Association of United Ways, in partnership with Louisiana United Ways.
The original ALICE Report Update for Louisiana was released in January 2016, with an additional update released in 2017.
The new report advances that information by two years, updating data sources from 2014 to 2016. ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, 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.
“More than half of people living in Northwest Louisiana are in poverty or considered ALICE, which is above the state average,” said Dr. Bruce Willson, UWNWLA President/CEO. “Our hardworking families are faced with challenges and financial hardship because they can’t afford their basic needs. That’s why this updated ALICE report is a crucial tool to gauge where the work and services are needed most.”
United Way of Northwest Louisiana operates a dozen programs in-house to improve 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 Imagination Library, offers a confidential 24/7 help line to get connected to local and government resources known as 2-1-1, and offers tools to become more financially stable.
“Our financial stability efforts are critical components to better serve ALICE in our local communities,’ said Rashida Dawson, UWNWLA Vice President of Financial Stability. “We’ve done that by offering free tax preparation services, education on the eligibility requirements for the earned income tax credit (EITC), free financial counseling and connecting residents to safe and affordable bank accounts through the Bank On Northwest Louisiana initiative. In return, these programs have saved residents $579,600 in tax preparation fees and resulted over $4 million in federal refunds in 2018. Additionally, more than 4,000 residents have opened a safe and affordable bank account with local banks and credit unions since the program’s inception.”