United Way ALICE Report details size and scope of financial hardship in Louisiana

(Shreveport, LA) January 2016 – The Louisiana Association of United Ways (LAUW), along with the United Way of Northwest Louisiana and the 11 additional United Ways across the state, are excited to release the United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana.

ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, places a spotlight on a large population of hardworking residents who are struggling to make ends meet, have little or no savings, and are one emergency away from falling into poverty.  In Louisiana, 695,719 households — 40 percent of the state’s total — are unable to afford basic cost of living, with conditions still lagging behind pre-recession levels, according to the report.  In Northwest Louisiana, this statistic is actually higher than the state’s total at 44% percent.

“We believe this report could be placed in the center of tables across Louisiana to inspire the right kind of conversations— in nonprofits, churches, businesses, municipal and state government offices, even on the dinner table in homes,” said Sarah Berthelot, President/CEO of LAUW.

The United Way ALICE Report is the most comprehensive depiction of financial need in the state to date, using data from a variety of sources.  The report unveils new measures based on present-day income levels and expenses that show how many Louisiana workers struggle financially and why.

“Until now, the true picture of need in local communities and states has been understated and obscured by misleading averages and outdated poverty statistics,” said the report’s lead researcher, United Way ALICE Project National Director Stephanie Hoopes, Ph.D.

To download the 263-page report that provides parish-by-parish and town-level data, visit www.unitedwaynwla.org or www.launitedway.org, which also features an interactive, online map that summarizes the scale of ALICE in each parish.

“United Ways throughout Louisiana have come together to give an identity and voice to people who work hard and yet struggle to make ends meet — people we call ALICE,” said Dr. Bruce Willson, Jr., President/CEO of the United Way of Northwest Louisiana, “Sadly, there is no single solution to ‘fix’ the challenges that so many Northwest Louisianans face. However, armed with this information, we hope to begin the necessary conversation to create informed decisions on the policies, programs and priorities needed to improve the lives of these individuals.”

To produce the United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana, a team of researchers collaborated with a Research Advisory Committee, composed of 19 representatives from around Louisiana, who advised and contributed to the report.  Louisiana is one of the first of ten states in the country to produce an ALICE study.

About the United Way of Northwest Louisiana

For nearly 100 years, United Way of Northwest Louisiana has improved lives of individuals by creating opportunities for a better life. The organization focuses efforts on specific goals in Education, Income and Health, while continuing to provide a safety net to ensure that the Basic Needs of individuals in crisis are still met.  United Way of Northwest Louisiana serves agencies throughout a ten parish region. Each United Way organization operates independently of each other and makes decisions at the local level.

About Louisiana Association of United Ways

The Louisiana Association of United Ways is an association of seven regional United Ways serving 49 parishes throughout Louisiana. Our mission is to integrate action and resources for the common good. We work across our communities to tackle challenges that affect individuals, families and whole communities — challenges that are ultimately bigger than any of us and impact our entire state. We are part of a global network of more than 1,800 United Ways, servicing communities in 41 countries.