Working Hard But Struggling to Survive
1.2 million hard-working Pennsylvania households - including more than 27,300 households in Lackawanna and Wayne Counties - have incomes which exceed the federal poverty level, but are not high enough to pay for their basic needs. When you add in households that live below the federal poverty level, that's 40% of households in Lackawanna and Wayne Counties who are struggling to survive - above the state average of 37%.
The United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties is part of a state-wide data project led by the United Way of Pennsylvania called ALICE which provides a comprehensive measure of financial hardship across our state and in our community supported by groundbreaking data that goes beyond federal poverty guidelines. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. The eye-opening data tells the story of many hard-working families and individuals in our community who are going to work - sometimes at multiple jobs - but are still struggling to survive. ALICE is our neighbors, friends and family. ALICE households are working households. They hold jobs, pay taxes, and provide services that are vital to the Pennsylvania economy, in a variety of positions, such as retail salespeople, laborers and movers, customer service representatives, and office workers.
ALICE can be an office worker, a child care worker, a personal care aide or nursing assistant, an elementary school teacher, a retail associate or a custodian. ALICE is essential to our state’s economy, and no member of our community can live the quality of life we enjoy today without ALICE.
The United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties has been addressing financial stability in our community for decades. With our numerous partners and innovative intiatives such as our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), Educational Tax Credits and Scholarships, Gift of Warmth and State and Federal Aid programs and more, we've already been working to address the needs of ALICE in our community. However, the data from the ALICE Report will help everyone better understand who ALICE is, where ALICE lives, and the struggles ALICE faces. Solutions are complex – but, through this work, we have come to understand the real needs of individuals and families in our region and will continue to collaborate with valued partners to implement solutions for ALICE. This includes investments into early learning, housing initiatives, and workforce training programs. Through continued community investments, collaborations and advocacy, the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties is committed to uplifting ALICE and on the road to financial stability and economic mobility.