34 percent of Wisconsin’s 2.4 million households are struggling to afford basic necessities like housing, child care, food, transportation, and internet access. The statistic was revealed in the state’s third ALICE report, released today by United Way of Wisconsin in partnership with United For ALICE and local United Ways across the state.

The data from the report comes from 2018 and was compiled by United Way Wisconsin for the 2020 ALICE report. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed and describes households earning more than the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) but less than the states’s basic cost of living.

Data suggests there was improvements for ALICE households were improving. The state used to have 38% of households falling below the ALICE threshold.

United Way refers to this as the ALICE threshold. In Wisconsin, 549,313 (~23%) are ALICE and another 262,960 (~11%) households fall below the FPL.

The ALICE Report states the cost of living in Burnett County is $20,668 for an individual and $64,698 for a household of four. The FPL is $12,140 for an individual and $25,100 for a family of four.

This means that Burnett County is right in line with the state average of 23% of households are ALICE and 14% are defined as poverty households.

Ann Searles is executive director for United Way St. Croix Valley. She told the Sentinel that ALICE households are defined as the “working poor.”

“These are families or individuals that don’t have enough money, monthly, to make ends meet.” Searles said. “They often have multiple jobs and have tough choices to make. ‘Do I pay my rent this month?’

Searles said the United Way runs a Food Bank Hudson. They are expecting a 30% - 60% increase in demand for food because of COVID-19.

“If people need help the first step is calling 2-1-1,” Searles said. “Anyone can call that phone number to get help and resources they need.”