2024 Goal: Reduce the number of households that spend over 35% of their income on housing costs by 25%.
The need: 16.2% of people in Berrien and Cass counties lives below the poverty line. A family of four needs an income of $59,934 to meet their most basic needs, which is more than 2 times the federal poverty line.
“Everything was at risk.”
Angelica Hatchew was having trouble making ends meet while she was on early maternity leave for health reasons from her job at Lyons Industries in Dowagiac. Five months pregnant and with two other children, she was afraid of losing her home. “Everything was at risk,” Angelica says. “I was at the bottom of the bottom.”
That’s when she met Nancy Miller, a success coach at The LINK, a program at United Way-funded partner Kinexus. “She was my backbone,” Angelica says.
Nancy counseled and reassured
Angelica, evaluated her situation and informed her of her options. She helped Angelica connect to disability assistance and utility bill extensions. She directed her to mobile food pantries and ways to get her kids school clothes. After Angelica’s son was born, Nancy saw to it that the newborn received medical insurance.
“Now Nancy is assisting my family with day care needs, so I can continue to be a productive employee,” Angelica says. “She helped me through it all. I couldn’t have done it without her.”
1,147 people impacted
460 individuals received job skills training
191 individuals impacted accessed affordable housing and financial products and services.
Those impacted by United Way…
80% of individuals increased their disposable income by accessing benefits and/or reducing costs
67% of individuals increased their wages
73% of individuals increased educational skills or levels
57% of individuals gained employment
Households that spend 35% or more of household income on monthy housing costs
43 PERCENT OF MICHIGAN HOUSEHOLDS STRUGGLE TO AFFORD THE BASIC NECESSITIES OF HOUSING, CHILD CARE, FOOD, TECHNOLOGY, HEALTH CARE AND TRANSPORTATION.
That’s why United Ways across Michigan, with help from the Consumers Energy Foundation, have come together to bring you the ALICE Project. ALICE represents those in our communities who are working yet still struggling to make ends meet.
The newest report shows that the increased cost of living, combined with low wages, reduced work hours, and depleted savings has led to an uneven economic recovery in Michigan. That’s why Michigan United Ways remain committed to serving ALICE, and all those in need.
CLICK HERE to download the ALICE report.
VITA PROGRAM FOR TAX PREPARATION ASSISTANCE
United Way of Southwest Michigan is proud to partner with Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency to provide free tax preparation for low-income working families in Berrien or Cass counties. The VITA Program offers free tax help to people who make $54,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.
For more information on VITA, CLICK HERE.