New research shows that 42 percent of Texas households cannot afford basic needs including housing, food, and childcare.
However, that number is much higher in El Paso County, according to a report released by the United Way of Texas.
A new ALICE study, which stands for “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed”, reveals that 54 percent of Borderland households struggle to keep food on the table, and are only one crisis away from falling into poverty.
“We’re way below lower class and we have to scrape and scrap for every penny we get,” El Pasoan Christopher Palacios told KTSM. “We need to go out and get side jobs and make that extra money just to stay afloat.”
The report showed a major difference in survival budgets. For a typical family of four, the budget is set at about $61,400, whereas a family living in poverty would have to live off of $24,300.
For the past six years since the last recession, many El Pasoans are facing hard decisions to make ends meet; many live paycheck-to-paycheck and even work two jobs.
“I come from a family that’s struggling…we struggle a lot and we have to get our elbows dirty and do what we got to do,” Palacios said.
In Texas, 62 percent of available jobs do not pay enough to meet the household survival budget for a family of four.
Deborah Zuloaga, President and CEO of United Way of El Paso, says there are more local ALICE families than many realize.
“These are the individuals that need to be addressed on how to help them to get…on the right step to financial stability,” she said.