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United Way ALICE Report | YSF

United Way ALICE Report | YSF


IF YOU AND YOUR FAMILY LIVE
PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK, OR A GOOD CHUNK OF YOUR SALARY GOES TO PAY
FOR HOUSING, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. ACCORDING TO THIS YEAR’S ALICE
REPORT BY THE UNITED WAY OF FLORIDA, 46 PERCENT OF ALL
HOUSEHOLDS IN OUR STATE ARE STRUGGLING TO MAKE ENDS MEET. ALICE IS AN ACRONYM FOR ASSET
LIMITED, INCOME, CONSTRAINED, EMPLOYED. IN OTHER WORDS, PEOPLE WITH JOBS
WHO DON’T EARN ENOUGH TO PAY ALL THEIR BILLS AND SOCK SOME MONEY
AWAY IN SAVINGS. THEY ARE PEOPLE AND FAMILIES WHO
STRUGGLE TO POURED THE BASICS LIKE EN, TRANSPORTATION,
CHILDCARE, AND A FOOD. WITH LITTLE TO NO SAVINGS A,
THEY ARE JUST ONE EMERGENCY AWAY FROM FALLING INTO POVERTY. MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST SALLY
HEIMS SPOKE WITH, SPOKE WITH THE UNITED WAY OF PALM BEACH COUNTY
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE IMPACT THIS HAS ON THAT COMMUNITY AND
HOW THEIR PROGRAMS ARE TRYING TO HELP. UNDERNEATH NEATLY LINED PALM
TREES IS A VERY REAL STRUGGLE IN PALM BEACH COUNTY. IT IS DISAPPOINTING TO SEE
THAT IN OUR COMMUNITY MORE AND MORE FAMILIES ARE STRUGGLING. THE LATEST RESEARCH FIND
34 PERCENT, A LITTLE MORE THAN ONE-THIRD OF ALL PALM BEACHERS,
ARE ONE PAYCHECK AWAY FROM FINANCIAL CRISIS. THE UNITED WAY CALLS THIS THE
ALICE POPULATION. PEOPLE EARNING MORE THAN THE
POVERTY LEVEL BUT LESS THAN WHAT IS NEEDED TO COVER THE BASICS. IF A TEACHER HAS AN EMERGENCY
COME UP, THEY START A DOWNWARD SPIRAL WHERE THEY CAN’T THEN
AFFORD TO PAY FOR THEIR GROCERIES. THEY MIGHT MISS A RENT PAYMENT,
AND THEY STILL FEED TO SHOW UP FOR WORK EVERY DAY AND TEACH OUR
CHILDREN. I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE SEEN THE
NUMBERS GO DOWN IN OUR COMMUNITY, BECAUSE THE
POPULATION IS SO VALUABLE AND THEY ARE SUCH AN INTEGRAL PART
OF MAKING OUR COMMUNITY SUCCESSFUL, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT
PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING ONE, TWO, THREE JOBS TO MAKE ENDS MEET. AND THE FACT THAT HOUSING COSTS
ARE RISING, TRANSPORTATION, FOOD, AND THE WAGES ARE JUST NOT
KEEPING PACE AND THAT IS DISHEARTENING, REALLY. Pam:. TO BRIDGE THE GAP THE UNITED
WAY FUNDS OVER 100 PROGRAMS, ONE OF THE LARGEST IS VIDA WHERE IRS
TRAINED VOLUNTEERS FILE TAXES AT NO COSTS FOR PEOPLE WHO EARN
LESS THAN $66,000 A YEAR. THERE IS A NEED, THIS IS A
NEW LOCATION FOR VIDA, AND PEOPLE ARE STILL REPEAT, THEY
FIND WHERE YOU ARE AND, YOU KNOW, THEY COME BACK. I HAVE SEEN A VERY DIVERSE
GROUP. I FOUND THIS ORGANIZATION TO, MY
COLLEGE AGE DAUGHTER, WHO USED THE SERVICE, AND THEN I BECAME
INVOLVED VOLUNTEERING ANYWHERE FROM COLLEGE STUDENTS, DAY
LABORERS, CASHIERS, EVEN THERE HAVE BEEN SOME PEOPLE IN THE
BANKING OR FINANCIAL BACKGROUNDS AND THEY ARE JUST NEEDING A
REFRESHER ON NEW TAX LAW. IN 2017 ALONE, OVER 10,000
PEOPLE IN PALM BEACH COUNTY BENEFITED FROM THE VITA PROGRAM
WITH THE COST OF LIVING CONTINUING TO RISE INTRODUCE
BOARD, SO WILL THE NEEDS OF THE ALICE POPULATION. AND HERE TO SHARE MORE ABOUT
THE UNITED WAY’S LATEST NUMBERS ON FINANCIAL INSECURITY IN SOUTH
FLORIDA IS KATHLEEN CANNON. PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE UNITED
WAY OF BROWARD COUNTY. KATHLEEN, GREAT TO HAVE YOU WITH
US. PAM GIGANTI, THANKS FOR
HAVING ME HERE TODAY. Pam: THERE IS SO IMPORTANT
THIS PART TO PAINT PICTURE FOR ALL OF US ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON
IN OUR COMMUNITY WITH FAMILIES. RIGHT. Pam: SO LET’S TALK
SPECIFICALLY ABOUT BROWARD AND SOUTH FLORIDA WAND WHAT IS GOING
ON HERE. SURPRISING, FOLKS LIKE
UNEMPLOYMENT, EMPLOYMENT THE DOING WELL, THE ECONOMY IS DOING
WELL. Pam: YES. BUT THERE IS THIS ENTIRE
POPULATION OF PEOPLE WHO ARE FINANCIALLY STRESSED AND
SUFFERING BUT THEY DON’T LIKE LIKE THEY ARE, THEY ARE GOING TO
WORK EVERY DAY AND A ONE, TWO, SOME OF THEM HAVE THREE JOBS,
JUST TRYING TO MAKE THEIR ENDS MEET, BUT AT WORK, THEY ARE
FINDING IT I DO MAKE THEIR ENDS MEET, SO AT THE END OF A
PAYCHECK OR A PAY PERIOD, THEY ARE MAKING SERIOUS DECISIONS. DO I PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE? DO I TAKE THE BUS INSTEAD OF
PUTTING GAS IN THE CAR? WHAT IF THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG
WITH THE CAR? THEY REALLY ARE ONE PAYCHECK
AWAY FROM FINANCIAL COMPLY SISTER AND WE DON’T WANT PEOPLE
TO FALL INTO POVERTY. Pam: YES. ABSOLUTELY. LET’S TALK ABOUT WHAT THESE
FAMILIES LOOK LIKE. I MEAN, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT, AN
A ALICE REPORT LOOKS LIKE WHEN IT IS TALKING ABOUT HOUSEHOLD OF
FAMILY OF 42, WORKING PEOPLE, AND A TWO SMALL CHILDREN. UH-HUH. Pam: SO THERE IS CHILDCARE
THAT IS REQUIRED THERE. CORRECT. Pam: BUT THESE FOLKS ARE
USUALLY PEOPLE WHO BOTH HAVE JOBS. THEY HAVE DEGREES, MANY OF THEM,
OR SOME SORT OF CERTIFICATION AND THEY APPEAR TO BE DOING
EVERYTHING RIGHT, TRYING TO FOLLOW THE AMERICAN DREAM, IF
YOU WILL, BUT THEY ARE STRUGGLING, TALK ABOUT WHAT
THESE FAMILIES LOOK LIKE. PAM GIGANTI, THEY, ONE OF THE
THINGS YOU SAID IS SO ON POINT BECAUSE THEY ARE DOING
EVERYTHING RIGHT, BUT YET THEY CANNOT GET AHEAD. AND THEY ARE FAMILIES THAT WE
ALL COME IN CONTACT WITH EVERY DAY. THEY ARE THE PEOPLE THAT ARE
SERVING COFFEE, OUR TEACHERS, ESPECIALLY, PEOPLE THAT ARE
PUBLIC SERVICE WORKERS, NURSE’S AIDS A AIDS AND A PEOPLE THAT
REALLY RUN OUR ECONOMY AND COMMUNITY AND SERVING US EVERY
DAY, BUT THERE IS NOT — WAGES ARE NOT KEEPING UP WITH THE COST
OF LIVING IN SOUTH FLORIDA. Pam: YES. SO PEOPLE ARE SPENDING WELL
OVER 50 PERCENT OF THEIR INCOME ON JUST HOUSING. SO THEN HOW DO THEY AFFORD
CHILDCARE AND TRANSPORTATION AND IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG IN? WITHIN A PAY PERIOD OR IN A
MONTH’S TIME. Pam: SURE. IT DOES SPIRAL THEM. THERE ARE PEOPLE WE WORK WITH
AND SERVE AND SEE ALL DAY EVERY DAY. THEY ARE NORMAL, REGULAR FOLKS. Pam: I LOVE HOW YOU SAY
THAT, THEY ARE REGULAR NORMAL FOLK AND JUST TRYING TO PUT ALL
OF THOSE PIECES TOGETHER. I
WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE NUMBERS BRIEFLY SO PEOPLE UNWHAT WE ARE
TALKING ABOUT A. SO THE MEDIAN INCOME FOR FOLKS
IN $54,000, BUT WHEN YOU PUT ALL OF THOSE PIECES TOGETHER,
ACCORDING TO THE ALICE REPORT TO PAY FOR TRANSPORTATION,
CHILDCARE, RENT, IT IS 64,000. SO THEY ARE REALLY MANY OF
THEM, 10,000 AND A DEFICIT OF $10,000. SO WHAT CAN WE DO AS A COMMUNITY
TO HELP FOLKS? GREAT QUESTION. BECAUSE PEOPLE CAN’T LIVE IN
A DEFICIT. Pam: NO. YOU CANNED GO FROM YEAR TO
YEAR AND MONTH-TO-MONTH IN A DEFICIT. Pam: BECAUSE YOU CAN’T EVEN
SAVE. NO, THERE IS ZERO SAVINGS. THERE IS LIKE THE BARE MINIMUM
BUDGET OF JUST THE BARE MINIMUM OF WHAT PEOPLE CAN MAKE TO BE
ABLE TO SURVIVE AND LIVE AND, YOU KNOW, BE RELATIVELY HAPPY IN
THE COMMUNITY. SO WE HAVE SURROUNDED OUR ALICE
REPORT WAS REALLY THE FRAMEWORK FOR US TO STUDY FAMILIES WHO ARE
WORKING HARD BUT FALLING SHORT, SO WE HAVE PUT ALL TYPES OF
PROGRAMMING INTO PLACE TO SERVE FAMILIES. Pam: OKAY. THERE IS SOMETHING WE CALLED
VITA I HAVE IS, WHICH IS VOLUNTEER INCOME TAX ASSISTANCE,
LET’S GET EVERYBODY, THEIR TAX ASSISTANCE PEOPLE ARE LEAVING
MONEY ON THE TABLE BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT CLAIMING THEIR DEPEN —
DEPENDENTS AND TAX REFUNDS SO WE HAVE A HUGE AMOUNT OF VOLUNTEERS
HERE IN SOUTH FLORIDA DOING TAX PREP FOR FOLKS AND ALSO DOING
ALL SORT OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS. SOMETIMES A VERY SMALL AMOUNT
WILL KEEP SOMEBODY FROM SPIRALING INTO FINANCIAL CRISIS. SO WE HAVE GOT THAT SET UP, WE
HAVE SOMETHING CALLED PROJECT LIFELINE, ABOUT FOOD BANKS AND
SERVING FOOD, HEALTHCARE. WE DO A HEALTHCARE AND A
CHILDCARE MATCH. MAKING SURE THAT PEOPLE DON’T
HAVE TO SPEND EXTRA DOLLARS OR DOLLARS THEY DON’T HAVE ON
SERVICES THAT ARE JUST BARE MINIMUM AND VITAL SERVICES TO
GET PEOPLE THROUGH. SO WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR
VOLUNTEERS. WE ARE LOOKING FOR DONORS TO
JOIN US IN THIS. IF WE CAN STABILIZE OUR MIDDLE
CLASS AND ALL OF OUR FOLKS AND FAMILIES THAT ARE WORKING HARD,
AND MAKING SURE THAT THEY HAVE WHAT THEY NEED TO GET BY, THE
WHOLE ECONOMY WILL DO BETTER. Pam: SURE. THAT’S THE MESSAGE I WANT TO
SHARE WITH FOLKS. IF EVERYBODY THRIVES, THE
ECONOMY AS A WHOLE THRIVES. Pam: DOES BETTER. EXACTLY. AND IF THEY HAVE MORE INCOME TO
SPEND, THAT DOES HELP THE ECONOMIC ENGINE OF THE
COMMUNITY. EXACTLY. Pam: SO TWO OF THE BIGGEST
PROBLEMS I AM HEARING YOU SAY IS HOUSING AFFORDABLE. ABILITY. YES. Pam: RENT IS VERY HIGH AND
MOST OF THESE ALICE FOLKS ARE RENTERS? YES. Pam: AND THE WAGES JUST
AREN’T KEEPING UP. SO HOW DO WE SOLVE — THE WAGE,
WAGE PROBLEM IS A HARD ONE TO SOLVE RIGHT AWAY. IT IS ALL HARD. IT IS ALL COMPLEX. SO WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO IS
DO IMMEDIATE HELP, BUT ALSO IN THE LONG RUN AS WELL, SO PUBLIC
POLICY IS A BIG PIECE, YOU KNOW, WE REALLY HAVE TO WORK ON A, ON
AFFORDABLE HOUSING. WHAT WE HAVE AND WHAT WE ARE
FINDING IS FOLKS ARE, MULTIPLE FAMILIES ARE LIVING TOGETHER NOW
BECAUSE THEY CANNOT AFFORD THE RENT. PEOPLE ARE BEING ROOMMATES FOR
LONGER, YOUNGER PEOPLE ARE STAYING HOME WITH THEIR PARENTS
FOR MUCH LONGER THAN THEY HAD. SENIORS ARE COHABITATING JUST
BECAUSE OF RENT. SO WE ARE SEEING PEOPLE COMING
UP WITH DIFFERENT WAYS OF TRYING TO BE STRATEGIC AND HELP, BUT WE
DO HAVE TO WORK ON THE AFFORDABILITY OF HOUSING AND
THEN WE HAVE TO WORK ON THE PEOPLE HAVING JUST THE BASIC
NEEDS THAT THEY NEED, SO WITH JOB SKILLS, WE ARE TRYING TO GET
PEOPLE HIGHER WAGES, TRYING TO HELP ALL FAMILIES FROM YOUNG
GENERATION ON ABOUT SAVING. WE WANT PEOPLE TO EARN, KEEP AND
GROW THEIR ASSETS BUT IF THERE IS NOTHING LEFT AT THE END OF A
MONTH WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO GROW? Pam: RIGHT. SO WE HAVE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
SET UP FOR FOLKS, WANG BANKING, NEW BANKING RELATIONSHIPS THAT
WE ARE TRYING TO GET TO FAMILIES, SO WE ARE LOOKING AT
MULTIGENERATIONAL ISSUES, HOW TO SOLVE THIS. BUT NOT JUST A ONE STOPGAP FOR
SOME LONGSTANDING PUBLIC POLICY SHIFTS THAT WE CAN GET SOME MORE
AFFORDABLE HOUSING SO POKES HAVE A LITTLE BIT LEFT OVER AT THE
OWNED OF A MONTH THAT THEY CAN START TO SAVE. Pam: THAT’S SUCH AN
IMPORTANT PIECE OF THE PUZZLE. YES. Pam: AND WE KNOW LEADERS IN
OUR COMMUNITY HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS, HOUSING AFFORDABILITY
ISSUE FOR A LONG TIME. IT REALLY NEEDS TO BE SOLVED IN
SOME WAY SO THE FAMILIES CAN START SAVING. ABSOLUTELY. WE HAVE A TO TO TAKE CARE OF
EVERYBODY IN OUR COMMUNITY AND THEY TAKE CARE OF US SO THEY
REALLY MAKE OUR ECONOMY RUN AND KEEP EVERYTHING MOVING AND
SHAKING. SO IT IS SO IMPORTANT. Pam: THANK YOU, KATHLEEN
FOR COMING AND SHEDDING SOME LIGHT ON THAT. WE REALLY APPRECIATE IT. PAM GIGANTI, THANKS SO MUCH
FOR HAVING US. Pam: AND A WE WILL HAVE
MUCH MORE INFORMATION FOR YOU ON THE UNITED WAY’S ALICE REPORT,
PLUS RESOURCES ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE AT @YOURSOUTHFLORIDA.

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