Did you know that 35% of all households in Bexar County earn more than the Federal Poverty Level but less than a basic cost-of-living threshold?
Let us introduce you to ALICE. Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed or ALICE are individuals who are working but challenged to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care and transportation.
That is why United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County has released the new “Making Tough Choices” online tool. “Making Tough Choices lets users experience some of the difficult choices that Bexar County families must make due to financial hardship.
“People should be able to work 40 hours in a week at a decent job and not have to make these difficult choices,” Dr. Jason Alemán said, Vice President of Ready Children Impact Council for United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County.
With more than a third of all residents falling into this category, this means that they are more than just a statistic you see in headlines. They are the manager at your favorite grocery store, your child’s teacher or the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) providing life-saving assistance. These are your neighbors.
“These individuals and families educate our children, keep us healthy and make our quality of life possible,” Dr. Alemán added. “Yet they do not earn enough to support their own families. This tool will hopefully encourage employers to commit to meaningful change related to wages and inspire people to donate or volunteer.”
When combined with the 17% of residents who earn less than the Federal Poverty Level, 52% of all people in Bexar County are living without financial stability and making tough choices like the ones found in the online tool. Based on our research, this means more than 644,000 people in Bexar County were unable to make ends meet in 2018.
People experiencing ALICE face several challenges in life. These include:
- Education: Low-income students in low-performing schools increase their risk of not graduating high school or attending college.
- Career Pathways: Struggling to make ends meet creates barriers to career advancement and job training opportunities.
- Health: Achieving and maintaining good health. When health issues go untreated, they become more serious and more costly. This can lead to other negative outcomes.
- Daily Expenses: Inability to make ends meet makes saving for emergencies or future financial goals nearly impossible.
United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County mobilizes volunteers, community organizations and local leaders to find lasting solutions to issues like financial stability, affordable quality child care, pay equity and more. Every day we are making progress for children and families but we need help from the community.