United Way report finds working families struggling


LATHAM – New York is inching
dangerously close to having 50 percent of its families lacking sufficient
income and resources for housing, food, child care, transportation and
health care, according to a report released by United Way of New York

In the last two years, United Ways in 16 states have participated in ALICE
– Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – to demonstrate
a growing population of residents who are working, but struggle to afford
basic necessities.

In Westchester, Putnam and Rockland counties, the number of residents
who fall into this category is startling, said Alana Sweeny, president
of United Way Westchester Putnam and Mimi Vilord, president of United
Way Rockland County.

In Westchester, 24 percent of the 342,557 households fell into the ALICE
category with another 10 percent falling below the poverty line. In Rockland,
31 percent fell into the ALICE category. And an additional 11 percent
fell below the poverty line. In Putnam, 28 percent fell into the ALICE
category and an additional five percent of the population there fell below
the poverty line.

Households that fell into the ALICE category are those that earn above
the poverty level up to a maximum of $77,892 in Westchester and $77,724
in Rockland and Putnam for a family of four: two adults, one pre-school
child and one infant.

“That means that nearly a third of the people living in these three
counties – among the most affluent counties in the nation –
are living paycheck to paycheck with no emergency savings,’’
said Sweeny. “The high cost of housing and childcare eat into their
incomes. You would think that someone with a $70,000-a-year plus income
would be doing well, but not here. They are one flat tire, one illness
away from financial disaster. And this cuts across all ethnic and age