United Way hosts season’s final Powered by Purpose

news release

United Way of Indian River County’s final Powered by Purpose of the season featured local community leaders’ perspectives on the ALICE population. ALICE stands for asset-limited, income-constrained, employed. These are hardworking individuals working just to make ends meet. ALICE is essential but struggling to survive.   

Deana Shatley, Jeff Pickering, Trevor Loomis, Dori Stone discuss ALICE in panel

The informative session began with United Way CEO Meredith Egan sharing the statistics defining ALICE. The survival budget for a family of four in our community is $61K, while the median income is $49K. An individual working a minimum wage job must work 87 hours to make ends meet. A full ALICE report from United Way will be published on April 26.   

“At United Way, our number one priority is helping this community’s ALICE population by harnessing resources and creating solutions,” stated Egan.   

To put a face to ALICE, Shawna shared her story. She is a single parent who works in dispatch at the Fire Department. She recently had to move out of her two-bedroom duplex because the landlord raised the rent over $300. Fortunately, Shauna is a homebuyer with Habitat for Humanity and will move into her forever home soon. However, childcare is still a challenge, along with the rising costs of groceries.   

Panelists included Trevor Loomis, CEO of Indian River Habitat for Humanity, Jeff Pickering, President and CEO of the Indian River Community Foundation, and Dori Stone, President of the Indian River Chamber of Commerce. They shared the problems employers face with the housing crisis and the solutions they can offer to assist this population. They emphasized the importance of the public sector coupled with the role philanthropy plays in providing vital services.   

During the conversation following, attendees discussed strategies and benefits employers can implement to support the ALICE population. The group agreed that system change needs to happen on a larger scale to ensure ALICE succeeds. Many panelists discussed policy changes the community can advocate for at the local, State, and Federal levels.  Those present felt it would be beneficial to provide a list of community resources for employers to share with employees. Key public sector initiatives that address the needs of the ALICE, including the Children’s Services Advisory Council and Senate Bill 102, were discussed. Fellsmere’s innovative collaboration with the community to create solutions was also highlighted. As Florida’s population has grown, ALICE has increased with it, and all agreed that everyone must work together to achieve success. 
 
The Powered by Purpose series hosted by United Way of Indian River County features community leaders and experts speaking about different topics of interest to help attendees learn more about an issue, community challenges, collaboration, resources, and other ways to get involved.  

United Way of Indian River County (UWIRC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every community member. United Way works with local programs to provide resources to individuals and families in crisis today while working year-round to improve community conditions and create lasting solutions. We are effectively building a strong foundation and improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community. For more information about your local United Way, please call (772) 567-8900 or visit our website, UnitedWayIRC.org.  

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