Nearly Half of All Florida Households Struggle to Make Ends Meet

Even though unemployment has been on the decline for some time, a recent report from the United Way of Florida indicates that nearly half of all Floridians struggle to make ends meet and afford their basic needs, including housing, food, transportation and childcare expenses.

According to the most recent ALICE report from the United Way of Florida, approximately 46 percent of all Florida households are struggling to meet their daily living expenses. The acronym “ALICE” stands for “Asset, Limited, Income, Constrained and Employed,” and is a report that is generated every two years.

The report showed that 14 percent of Florida households are currently living below the federal poverty guidelines. Additionally, 32 percent are technically above the poverty level but are below what is needed in terms of income to meet their basic needs.

For residents living in Central Florida, this can largely be attributed to the increase in the cost of living and affordable housing. As the cost of housing in Orlando continues to rise a recent study done by the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness says in order to afford the average two bedroom apartment, families need to make about $21 an hour. The state’s minimum wage, which increased by $0.21 in January is only $8.46 per hour.

For many families today, all it takes is one major health crisis, a major household expense or vehicle repair that can quickly put them in the red.

When the cost of living rises quickly and incomes remain flat, the effects can be felt through many different parts of society and the economy. In fact, the ALICE report showed that the average household budget has gone up by 20 percent since the last report was published two years ago. Arguably, income has not gone up in that same manner. Rising costs of living affect both the lower class and middle class.

The cost of paying for many basic expenses has continued to increase as well. For example, the cost of childcare. The cost of putting children in daycare forces many families to decide whether only one parent works or whether both work while paying for the cost of childcare. Making the decision to take on this expense can be a tough one for many Florida families, especially those right on the edge of what is considered the poverty line.

The recent ALICE report also provided some recommendations on how to alleviate this tough situation facing Florida. One recommendation is to provide easier access to credit with lower interest rates. Another recommendation is for employers to pay employees more frequently than every two weeks, to ensure that these individuals have access to their earnings as soon as possible.

Whether these recommendations will produce results remains to be seen, but the United Way hopes that putting this information out there will shed light on a growing problem facing many Floridians.

If you have questions on this topic or are struggling with debt, call our law firm to schedule a free consultation. Having debt makes you stay up at night. It stresses you out. It ruins relationships. I went through it. Boldly, I mustered up the courage to call a bankruptcy attorney and I pressed the restart button in 2008. And even though eleven years has passed since I made that decision to restart my life, I never forgot what it did for me and how it helped me start over.

It even inspired me and my law firm to become the largest filers of bankruptcies in the country and in the top two in Florida- all from our offices in Orlando and Kissimmee. The Benenati Law Firm has eliminated nearly a billion dollars of debt for its bankruptcy clients, making the firm one of the top twenty filers of bankruptcy in the nation.

There are a great many people out there in Central Florida that should be filing bankruptcy that don’t…because they’re scared. Or perhaps they think they are too young to file. Or sometimes…they are just too darn prideful to file. My friend check that pride at the door because you will meet someone that can truly feel what you are going through – not in the abstract – but in concrete reality. I give you my word that my staff and I will try to help you restart your life…competently, professionally, attentively, and compassionately. Remember, we are local in your hometown. We make our hours convenient for our clients and offer free consultations on Saturdays (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) along with our normal business hours throughout the week. Go to or call 407-777-7777 to set up a free private consultation and learn more information. Because Life Has a Restart Button.