New United Way ALICE Report Shows 1 in 3 Midland County households face financial hardship

The Michigan Association of United Ways fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Association of United Ways (MAUW) today released a study on the condition of Michigan’s working families, what it has named ALICE households – those that are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE households have an income that is higher than the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough to afford basic household necessities. ALICE is one crisis away from poverty. A rent hike, a family illness, the need for new car tires, things that the rest of us see as an inconvenience, are a crisis for ALICE in Midland County and all across our nation. In Midland County, the report found that 23% of all households are ALICE and 11% are in poverty. The full report can be found at www.unitedwaymidland.org/ALICE.

“United Way is shining a light on the magnitude of ALICE – a complex challenge that no single organization can solve,” said Nancy Lindman, Interim CEO, Michigan Association of United Ways. “We are bringing communities together to help address conditions that will give households a chance to move above the ALICE threshold.”

The report found that of Michigan’s 3.86 million households, 15 percent lived in poverty in 2015 and another 25 percent were below the ALICE threshold, earning below the average family’s cost of basic needs. At a combined 40 percent, the percentage of households struggling only improved by one percentage point from 2010 to 2012, and has remained flat in the years that followed.

“Consumers Energy works to provide solutions to the Michigan residents we serve, and that includes helping our state’s United Ways to identify and respond to the needs of families across the state,” said Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary/treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “The new ALICE study illustrates the conditions faced by many individuals and can help guide us and others as we work to serve our communities better.”

United Way of Midland County and the Michigan Association of United Ways join with some 450 United Ways from 15 states across the country to better understand the struggles of ALICE.
Various organizations across the country are also using this data to better understand the struggles and needs of their employees, customers and communities.

To produce the United Way ALICE Report for Michigan, a national team of researchers collaborated with the Michigan Research Advisory Committee, composed of representatives from across the state, who advised and contributed to the report. The report focuses on providing objective, comprehensive county-by-county data that identifies the size of the ALICE population in Michigan and works to identify the obstacles that keep these residents from achieving financial independence. The current report builds on data found in the 2014 ALICE study, showing not only continuity but also highlighting United Way’s commitment to this data.

United Way of Midland County and United Ways across the state currently work to provide some short- and medium-term solutions for ALICE households, such as offering access to quality child care, free tax preparation and financial and career mentoring. In shedding light on the underlying causes keeping ALICE households from getting ahead, United Way of Midland County provides information that will inform discussions with businesses, government agencies, other nonprofits, the faith-based community and residents to create solutions for a stronger Michigan.

ABOUT UNITED WAY OF MIDLAND COUNTY:
United Way of Midland County works to advance the common good by focusing on the building blocks for a good life – Education, Health and Self-Sufficiency. They recruit the people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. They invite everyone to be a part of changing out community by giving, advocating and volunteering.

For more information about the 2017 ALICE Report, please visit www.unitedwaymidland.org/ALICE.

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