“Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed”

San Juan County’s ALICE refers to those islanders who work hard and earn above the Federal Poverty Level, but do not earn enough to afford a basic household budget of housing, childcare, food, transportation, and healthcare. ALICE affects all of us. We know, for example, that is estimated that almost 30% of San Juan County residents need some form of assistance at some time throughout the year just to make ends meet. There are thousands in this county who struggle to provide the physical, emotional and educational resources their children need to succeed. Throughout the state, 13% (343,878 households) live in poverty, and 19% (510,342 households) are ALICE. ALICE households include women and men, young and old, urban, suburban, and rural, and of all ethnicities, and they live in every county in the Pacific Northwest.

The housing shortage in San Juan County reaches beyond ALICE to affect a great many islanders, from our teachers and auto mechanics, our secretaries and to our nonprofit workers, to folks working in our service industry. As our county grows in popularity as an international destination and desirable location for second and third homes, the loss of available rentals and affordable homes to buy will just get worse. That is, if we don't do something about it.  

Why do so many households struggle?

The cost of living continues to increase...The Household Survival Budget reflects the bare minimum that a h

ousehold needs to live and work today. It does not include savings for emergencies or future goals like college. In 2016, costs were well above the Federal Poverty Level of $11,880 for a single adult and $24,300 for a family of four. Family costs increased by 28 percent statewide from 2010 to 2016, compared to 9 percent inflation nationally.

...and wages lag behind

Employment and wages vary by location; firms generally pay higher wages in areas with a higher cost of living, although those wages still do not always cover basic needs. Employment and wages also vary by firm size: Large firms tend to offer higher wages and more job stability; smaller businesses can account for more jobs overall, especially in rural areas, but may pay less and offer less stability. Medium-size firms pay more but typically employ the fewest workers.

Please find the full report at the following link and learn more about WHY United Way of San Juan County needs your help. Your donation to United Way San Juan County helps lift our community so we all thrive in a healthy community. You can make a difference. Donate Now.

Read On: Washington State ALICE Report