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Report: Many Michiganders struggling to make ends meet

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Many Michiganders are working hard this Labor Day weekend and still not making ends meet.

According to a new report, 4 in 10 Michigan households meet the definition of “asset-limited, income constrained, employed” – or ALICE for short.

Scott Dzurka is the CEO of the Michigan Association of United Ways. He says these people are waitresses, home care workers and others who are the backbone of the Michigan economy. He says ALICE households fall short of having enough money to meet their basic survival needs. 

“It’s having ALICE make a choice of whether or not I pay the rent or feed my kids on a daily basis,” says Dzurka. “Resoundingly, the piece we really need to examine is the 13% gap of that budget that ALICE cannot pick up and that’s causing day-to-day challenges for ALICE.”

Dzurka says there’s no “silver bullet” to solve the problem.  

Dzurka says this is becoming a growing problem among Michigan’s elderly and military veterans.     

He hopes this study will drive a conversation about improving access to affordable child care and housing.  

The ALICE study looks at all of Michigan’s counties. 

“I think it’s going to help us look at structures at a community level and what communities can do,” says Dzurka.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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