PENNSYLVANIA, USA — The economic impacts of the COVID-9 pandemic are far reaching. The United Way of Pennsylvania revealed a study taking at look at financial hardships on individual households across the state.
It shows that hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians were just one emergency away from financial ruin when COVID-19 hit.
The United Way calls it the ALICE report. ALICE stands for asset limited, income constrained, employed-- and represents almost one point four million Pennsylvanians.
In York County, 32% of households are considered ALICE. Those are folks working and still struggling each month to make ends meet. ALICE households earn above the federal poverty line and often times don't qualify for state assistance and cannot afford basics like food, transportation or housing.
United Way of Pa. President Kristen Rotz says, "A majority of ALICE households were most concerned about housing and costs associated with housing, while much of Pa. was focused on COVID-19 and contracting the virus."
The federal poverty level for a family of four is just over twenty-five thousand dollars a year. However, the ALICE survival budget, which is a minimal estimate of cost essentials, comes in at roughly seventy thousand dollars a year for that same family of four.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant lost wages or tips, disruptions to child care and school based support along with increased medical bills. All of that can impact ALICE's survival budget.
"While there might be some swing based on housing costs being more expensive in some parts of the state in others, the types of struggles we're seeing are pretty consistent across the state."
The United Way plans to continue to help by focusing on affordable and accessible high-quality child care; advocating for a state earned income tax credit; providing basic needs support, including housing and food; and by supporting the the statewide PA211 health and human services helpline to connect people in need with resources that can help.
For more information on the ALICE report, you can visit the United Way's website here.