08 Nov Do You Know ALICE?
Meet ALICE in Beaufort and Jasper Counties
By Chrystie Turner, Executive Vice President
Consider this: 40% of the households in the Lowcountry are walking a financial tightrope, unable to afford all of their basic necessities and often just one unexpected expense from slipping into a cycle of financial instability.
This month, United Ways across South Carolina unveiled their first statewide ALICE Report, upending the conventional view of economic stability in our state. The reality is that in addition to the 10,611 households in Beaufort and Jasper counties living in poverty, another 24,443 are ALICE®: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – a segment of our community that earns above the Federal Poverty Level but less than the amount required to afford basic necessities.
We all know ALICE. Many of us are ALICE or have been ALICE. ALICE is employed, often full-time or juggling multiple jobs, including childcare, home health, retail and hospitality service– all work that is essential for our community.
The ALICE Report provides a detailed analysis and data that explains why so many of our neighbors are struggling.
- 53% of all full-time workers in Beaufort and Jasper counties earn less than the amount necessary to survive.
- Hardship hits certain groups disproportionately, with 66% of Black and 54% of Hispanic households in our area of the Lowcountry struggling to make ends meet, compared to 33% of white households.
- Out of the 10 largest occupations in South Carolina, only one (registered nurse) occupation pays enough to be self-sufficient on a single income.
- Almost nine out of 10 single, female-headed households are considered ALICE (42%) or below (47%).
In Beaufort and Jasper Counties, the top request for assistance coming into our 2-1-1 Information and Referral Helpline is for rent payment assistance. The second most common request for help is another basic need for all households: utility payment assistance. Thirty-six percent of these callers have some source of employment (full-time, part-time or self-employed); 27% are employed full-time. Sixty-two percent of our callers identify as Black/African American and 69% of callers identify as female.
These numbers are striking, but ALICE is more than a statistic. ALICE is our neighbor, our friend, our coworker. They are the people who make our community thrive. But they are also the people who are most at risk of falling into poverty.
United Way of the Lowcountry believes that by empowering our neighbors to achieve self-sufficiency we can create a more resilient and prosperous community for all.
We invite you to help us strengthen the Lowcountry by:
- Investing in our community through United Way of the Lowcountry. Your donation will help United Way provide a variety of essential services to ALICE families, including rent assistance, utility assistance, job training and childcare assistance. These services help ALICE families to meet their basic needs and achieve self-sufficiency.
- Volunteering your time. Join our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program and help qualified families save money on tax preparation fees or tutor children to read through one of our Early Grade Reading programs.
- Raising awareness about ALICE. Share this piece with your friends and family and talk to your elected officials about the importance of supporting ALICE families.
Together, we can make a difference for ALICE.
Visit www.unitedforalice.org to learn more.
About United Way of the Lowcountry
United Way of the Lowcountry serves local donors who are committed to empowering individuals in Beaufort and Jasper counties to achieve self-sufficiency in order to create a brighter future for their families. By investing in vital services that fulfill the immediate basic needs of the most vulnerable members of our community, and in education and economic mobility strategies, we ensure that our donor’s support makes a sustainable, lasting impact in our community. Discover how you can invest in the community to make a difference at www.uwlowcountry.org. Together, we can foster self-sufficiency, uplift lives and build a stronger Lowcountry.