CAPE FEAR, NC (WWAY) — Are you living paycheck to paycheck, trying to figure out how to make ends meet? Well, you’re not alone. It’s all too common across the country, and right here in the Cape Fear, a new study shows.
“Especially getting paid every two weeks at minimum wage, it’s just- you can’t make it,” Brunswick County resident Lori Weyandt said.
A new study conducted by the United Way found more than 40 percent of people, living in U.S. households can’t afford things like rent, child care and food, but are above the poverty line.
“If you can’t do all of those things based on your wage, then you are in that range,” United Way Cape Fear Executive Vice President Tommy Taylor said.
This range is for a group of people called ALICE, or asset-limited, income constrained, employed. Taylor says what they are struggling to reach is a self-sufficiency standard.
“We have a lot of folks that are under-employed so it’s not that they’re not working. It’s not that they’re not maybe working two jobs. But we’ve got people in our community that are making decisions. Not that they can’t afford housing or food, but they’re having to make a decision between which,” Taylor said.
More than a quarter of the population in Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties would be categorized under ALICE. And some people in our area are not shocked by this. They just hope it will change someday.
“Something needs to be done with minimum- you don’t make enough money, even with working full time. And I mean those agencies that help- but even with a food bank, you barely get enough to feed yourself. Let alone if you have a family,” Weyandt said.
Taylor says the numbers do not do enough to explain the situation because they do not properly showcase how deep the poverty has sunk into these areas.