Central Florida’s Working Families Continue to Struggle
In Osceola County, 3 in 5 Households Can’t Afford Basic Needs.
In Central Florida, more than 300,000 households struggle to afford basic necessities such as housing, food, transportation, health care and child care, according to the 2017 ALICE Report released by Heart of Florida United Way.
The report documents the status of people in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties who, despite holding jobs, have little or no savings and are one emergency away from falling into poverty. Known as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), this population – from single individuals to large families – typically earns above the federal poverty level but less than the basic cost of living.
In Orange County, for instance, a family of four making between $24,250 (the federal poverty level) and $55,200 (the minimum household survival budget) would qualify as ALICE. Forty-three percent of Orange County households are either ALICE or under the poverty level, compared to 37 percent in Seminole County, 60 percent in Osceola County and 44 percent statewide.
“This report illustrates the challenges hardworking people in our community face every day,” said Jeff Hayward, president and CEO, Heart of Florida United Way. “Improving the health, education and financial stability of those living at or below the ALICE threshold must be a priority for all of us.”
Since 2010, Orange and Seminole counties have seen steady gains in the percent of households rising above the ALICE threshold. Osceola County, however, has gone in the opposite direction, with 9 percent more households falling below the line. Regardless of county, the overall ALICE population is still significantly higher than pre-recessionary levels from 2007.
Key findings from the report include:
**319,323 of the tri-county area’s 718,776 households (44 percent) are ALICE.
**Osceola County ranks sixth in the state for the highest percentage of ALICE households.
**Since 2007, Florida’s average survival budget for a family of four has increased by 21 percent to $53,856.
**When adjusted for inflation, the state’s percentage of low-wage jobs has not changed since 2007.
**Households with children, particularly those with a single parent, face greater financial difficulties.
ALICE Reports, first published in 2014, are produced by United Way chapters in 15 states. Data are culled from several sources, including the American Community Survey and Bureau of Labor Statistics. The methodology for this year’s report was updated to include county-level average household sizes and costs associated with the Affordable Care Act.
Drawing from research in the ALICE Report, Florida’s 32 United Way chapters developed a consensus agenda for the 2017 Florida Legislature. The goal is to generate short- and long-term strategies that help ALICE families and strengthen local communities.
“Heart of Florida United Way works with partners on many levels to empower ALICE households and keep people from falling into poverty,” Hayward said. “Thanks to your donations, we can help families, seniors, veterans and children with a wide range of life-changing services and programs.”
For more information on the 2017 ALICE Report, visit StandWithALICE.org.
About Heart of Florida United Way
Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW) is Central Florida’s most comprehensive health and human services charity and the largest provider of funds to the region’s most critical health and human service programs. Last year, it raised and managed $24.4 million throughout Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. HFUW is working to advance the common good by focusing on education, income, health and basic needs. It operates United Way 2-1-1, Central Florida’s information and assistance, crisis, suicide and referral helpline; Volunteer Resource Center; Gifts In Kind Center; Emergency Homelessness Services; and the Ryan White Part B program, which administers more than $2 million to provide HIV/AIDS services and referrals. HFUW impacts more than 650,000 individuals annually through its direct service and funded programs. United Way partners with local businesses, government, other charities to increase awareness of local health and human service issues and to inspire hope, provide options and create possibilities for people in need. Visit www.HFUW.org for more information, or call (407) 835-0900.