Over 1 in 3 households in the Chippewa Valley are financially at risk

Published: May. 5, 2023 at 3:28 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The latest ALICE report from United Way shows that over one in three households in the Chippewa Valley are financially at risk.

Every year the ALICE report tracks the number of households that earn more than the federal poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living in their county.

According to the 2023 report, 36% of households in Eau Claire county and 40% in Chippewa county are living below the ALICE threshold.

“In Chippewa county, that’s 40% of households are at or below that. Our threshold in Eau Claire County, that percentage is 36%. So we’re looking at over one in three households are financially at risk in this area and maybe not able to cover their monthly expenses,” Andy Neborak, United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley executive director, said.

Those numbers are likely to be higher, now that many COVID related benefits have ended since the data was collected in 2021.

“There was a lot of rental assistance out there, eviction moratoriums. You know, there were a lot of different things out there that we’re lifting people up that have since expired. It’s fair to assume that those numbers are probably in a worse spot now,” Neborak said.

The report also shows that certain demographics are more likely to be within the ALICE threshold.

“The female single head of household is really one that pops out, especially that Chippewa county number at 80%. Other populations that are most at risk are those hourly employees because if they can’t go to work, you know, their income is limited, their income is a little bit more volatile. And then you always see disparities in rural communities and there’s racial disparities as well,” Neborak said.

Neborak said United Way uses the ALICE report to help ensure grants and other funding goes to community programs that help support those who are financially at risk.

United Way believes next year’s ALICE report will continue to show the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on households within the ALICE threshold.