United Way of Allen County leaders think they know at least some of the reasons COVID-19 had a big economic impact on county residents.
When the pandemic hit, about one-third of Allen County’s 147,638 households were already one emergency away from financial ruin, according to a 2018 agency report on the working poor.
Known as an ALICE report – with the initials standing for Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed – the report found about 32,000 households were unable to afford the basics for survival despite having jobs.
The report found an additional 18,000 households were living in poverty – which means just over 1 in 3 county households were already dealing with economic distress.
Wages for ALICE workers in Indiana, many of them considered essential workers in the face of the pandemic, remained largely stagnant, the report found. But the local cost of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care and technology increased by 3.4% on average during the last decade, compared with 1.8% in the state as a whole.
ALICE households were therefore locked out of the booming economy and unable to establish savings due to meager pay raises and inconsistent job hours, schedules and benefits, the report says.
Matthew Purkey, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Allen County, said those families are falling through the holes in the safety net.
“The ones on the front line of COVID-19 can also be at greatest health and financial risk. They risk their safety to continually contribute to the economy, earn too much money to receive public assistance, but make too little to meet basic needs,” he said Monday in a statement.
The report, with municipality-specific data, is at www.unitedforalice.org/indiana.Read Full Story