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Money an issue for 36% in Allen

September 8, 2018 GMT

About 36 percent of working families in Allen County struggle to afford basic needs, which continue to cost more, a study released Thursday by the Indiana United Ways found.

Poverty households account for 14 percent while 22 percent are considered ALICE families, or those earning more than the federal poverty level but less than the basic cost of living, according to the 2018 ALICE Report.

ALICE stands for asset limited, income constrained, employed.

The Indiana ALICE Report looks at the reality of employed but struggling residents who have little or no savings and are an emergency away from falling into poverty. The United Way of Allen County uses the information to shape programs and policies.

Statewide, the report found, families in poverty and ALICE households account for 14 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

The federal poverty level for a family of four is 53,000. This represents a 10 percent increase from 2014 and a 23 percent increase from 2010, according to the United Way of Allen County.

The cost considers housing, food, child care, health care and transportation. The statewide average is $52,836, the study found.

“Working families are often forced to make choices that compromise their health and safety to make ends meet, putting both ALICE and the wider community at risk of long-term societal and economic repercussions,” the United Way of Allen County said in a statement.

“Tough choices for ALICE families may be deciding between putting dinner on the table, addressing a much-needed repair to the vehicle that carries them to and from work, or purchasing medication for the month.”

However, the statistics do reveal a bright spot, according to an official with United Way of Allen County: The county’s ALICE population decreased by nearly 6 percent, from 33,300 households to 31,400.

“This small decrease in families struggling to survive shows us that change is possible,” President and CEO David Nicole said in a statement.