From the 2018 United Way ALICE Report, of Florida’s 7.8 million households, 13% (1.0 million) lived in poverty and another 33% (2.6 million) percent were ALICE, including nearly 60% of Florida’s minority families. In Miami-Dade, these numbers are more stark – 17% of our community lives in poverty and 37% live below the ALICE Threshold. This means that 54% of our community does not earn a living wage, based on the cost of living in Miami-Dade.
These families insecurity increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as result of challenges such as loss of work or childcare, rising costs of goods, and lack of affordable housing. The United Way Miami COVID-19 impact Survey shows the far-reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on households living in Miami-Dade County.
This trend continues as moratoriums on evictions sunset and people face the real possibility of losing their access to stable housing.
The increasing minimum wage highlights the need to find solutions to benefits cliffs for low-wage workers and increased flexibility in eligibility for safety net programs, which low-wage workers rely on to make ends meet. Adding to the already challenging environment for programs that serve ALICE workers and families is the need for increased contracted reimbursement rates and subsidies for state-funded programs and services related to the upcoming increase in the minimum wage.
Our early childhood educators, who are ALICE themselves, have been essential to the workforce during the pandemic, are invariably in need of wage relief as well. Our efforts also must recognize the impact of professional credentials on the quality of education and development of the children in their care.
ALICE families live on the brink of financial disaster every day; just one eviction, medical crisis, or other unanticipated expense away from falling into poverty.
ALICE workers are essential to the fabric of our society and our economy. Our ALICE population works in jobs that have been on the frontline during COVID-19, from healthcare professionals to early childhood educators and teachers, to mechanics and hospitality workers; they are hardworking people we rely on every day. The future success of our communities is inextricably connected to the financial stability of Florida’s ALICE households. When ALICE suffers and is forced to make difficult choices, we all face serious consequences.
You can join us in our efforts to lift up the needs of ALICE families – our statewide Capitol Days November 16-17 in Tallahassee is open to United Way volunteers!
Together, we can make a difference by building a stronger Miami, together.