For Immediate Release 
Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Contact:                  
Mary Graham
United Ways of Tennessee
615-495-9970
[email protected]uwtn.org

 

New research: 57% of People with Disabilities in Tennessee are Living in Financial Hardship 

New report reveals that federal poverty data significantly undercounts how many people with disabilities are struggling to afford the basics.

The number of people with disabilities in Tennessee who struggle to afford the basics is far higher than federal poverty data indicates — more than 1 million in our state, according to a new report from United Ways of Tennessee and its research partner United For ALICE.

In 2019, while 20% of Tennessee residents with disabilities were deemed in poverty, 37% — nearly twice as many — were ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE households earn more than the Federal Poverty Level but less than what it costs to live and work in the modern economy. Combined, 57% of our state’s residents living with disabilities were below the ALICE Threshold, with income that doesn’t meet the basic costs of housing, childcare, health care, transportation and a smartphone plan.

“On the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we see residents in Tennessee with physical, mental, or emotional conditions are struggling financially, and they are not only being undercounted, but also underserved,” said president, Mary Graham. “Having a disability puts individuals at substantial risk for financial instability, more than many other factors. These individuals face barriers to accessing quality services, education, secure jobs and other critical supports.  The pandemic made things harder, with food insufficiency, interrupted learning, depression, anxiety, and work loss even higher for this population.” 

The new research also shows that outdated federal guidelines prevent the majority of residents with disabilities who are living in financial hardship from accessing critical public assistance. According to the new report, a staggering 85% of Tennessee residents with disabilities below the ALICE Threshold did not receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The program requires that recipients have income below the poverty level, be unable to work, have a “severe” impairment and have less than $2,000 in their bank accounts, $3,000 if they are a married couple.

Black and Hispanic residents with disabilities — 72% and 64% respectively — disproportionately experienced financial hardship compared to 54% of white people with disabilities. And across the board, Tennesseans with disabilities below the ALICE threshold were more likely to be living paycheck to paycheck than those without disabilities.  And the rates of hardship are likely even higher than could be counted as data is not available for individuals living in nursing homes, correctional facilities and other group settings.

More data is available through the ALICE in Focus: People with Disabilities interactive data dashboard, which provides filters for regional and local geographies, age, race, disability status, living arrangements and household work status. Visit UnitedForALICE.org/Focus-Disabilities.

ALICE in Focus: People with Disabilities marks the second installment in the ALICE in Focus Research Series, which draws from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS). Each installment in the series highlights a specific segment within the ALICE demographic. The first installment focused on children; the next report will feature veterans.

About United Ways of Tennessee    

United Ways of Tennessee is the network of the 30 United Ways in our state.  As Tennessee’s leading community solutions provider, United Way is the driving force behind many initiatives that provide solutions to our most critical needs.  We are working to advance the common good by focusing on the building blocks for a good life—education, income, and health.  In addition to providing more than $100 million in funding each year to more than 1200 programs, services, and agencies, we are directly involved in initiatives that address crucial community needs, including: 

  • Crisis response with basic assistance for victims of disasters, such as the pandemic, tornadoes, and fires
  • Food, shelter, and other basic needs for those facing tough times
  • Free 2-1-1 phone access to find health and human services and volunteer opportunities
  • A 1700+ member TN Afterschool Network, advancing the quality and availability of out-of-school programs for children and youth
  • Prevention that reduces use of opioids, tobacco, and other substances
  • Job skills training for people who want to work
  • Health care and other assistance for disabled, vulnerable, and aging populations
  • Initiatives creating economic opportunity and reducing homelessness and poverty

For more information about United Ways of Tennessee, or to find and contact your local United Way, link to www.uwtn.org.  

About United For ALICE 

United For ALICE is a driver of innovation, research, and action to improve life across the country for ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and for all. Through the development of the ALICE measurements, a comprehensive, unbiased picture of financial hardship has emerged. Harnessing this data and research on the mismatch between low-paying jobs and the cost of survival, ALICE partners convene, advocate, and collaborate on solutions that promote financial stability at local, state, and national levels. This grassroots ALICE movement, led by United Way of Northern New Jersey, has spread to 24 states and includes United Ways, corporations, nonprofits and foundations in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., West Virginia and Wisconsin; we are United For ALICE. For more information, visit: UnitedForALICE.org

Posted by Kelley Nave

Contact: MaryGraham 
President and CEO

                                                                                                                                                       UnitedWays of Tennessee

[email protected]

615-495-9970

United Ways ofTennessee announces that 2 United Ways were Honored with Awards 
at the 2022 UnitedWay Southeast Regional Conference

On April 26, 2022,more than 345 United Way staff from 18 states gathered in Greenville, SC forUnited Way’s Southeast Regional Conference. To honor the resilient, innovative,and impactful work of local United Ways, awards were presented to a small tomid-sized United Way and a large United Way in the following categories:  Exemplary United Way Leader, OutstandingLocal United Way, Exemplary COVID-19 Response, and Trailblazer in Diversity,Equity and Inclusion.  United Ways ofTennessee (UWTN) is pleased to announce that two Tennessee United Ways have wonawards.

Angela F. Williams,President and CEO of United Way Worldwide, presented awards on Friday, April 29during the final day of the Southeast Regional Conference.  

Matt Marshall,president and CEO of United Way of West Tennessee won for Exemplary United WayLeader.  This award honors leadership,initiative, integrity, accountability, innovation, and strong communication andmentoring skills, with vision that leads the team to meaningful successes,while promoting a positive work environment.

UnitedWay of Greater Knoxville, with the team under the leadership of president andCEO Matt Ryerson, won for Outstanding Local United Way. An outstanding United Wayshows measurable progress in improving the lives of those in their community,with meaningful growth in community engagement, revenue, partnerships, andinnovative work that improves lives.

 “We are very proud of our two winners and ofall the organizations and leaders who were nominated from our state and acrossthe southeast. These United Ways represent the larger network of  United Ways who are all deserving ofrecognition and inspire such confidence in our future success as a network thatfights for the education, health and financial stability of our communities,”said Mary Graham, president of UWTN.

In addition to theawards presentations, conference attendees were inspired by keynote speakersand attended workshops that offered knowledge exchange and practicalapplication tools. Rounding out the four-day event were networkingopportunities and 29 innovation stations that provided exposure to provenpractices and innovative ideas. The United Way Southeast Regional Conferencehas existed for more than 60 years and continues to serve as the premierregional learning opportunity for United Way leaders.

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Posted by Kelley Nave

ALICE in Focus on Children

April 4th, 2022

For Immediate Release  12:01 on Monday, April 4, 2022 

Contact: Mary Graham, TAN Lead Staff and CEO of United Ways of Tennessee

Phone:  615-495-9970

Email:    [email protected]               

 

New research: 71% of Tennessee’s Black Children Lived in

Financial Hardship Pre-Pandemic

New report and interactive tools reveal that federal poverty data undercounts how many children of all races are growing up amid financial insecurity.

Murfreesboro, Tennessee – The majority of Tennessee’s Black and Hispanic children — 71% and 81% respectively — lived in households that couldn’t afford the basics in 2019, compared to 46% of white children, according to a new report from United Ways of Tennessee, Tennessee Afterschool Network and their research partner United For ALICE. 

ALICE in Focus: Children reveals the disproportionate impact of financial hardship on the state’s Black and Hispanic children, while also challenging the reliance on federal poverty guidelines for eligibility for assistance programs. The report finds traditional measures of poverty have severely undercounted the number of children of all races ages 18and younger in Tennessee who are growing up in financially insecure households. 

While20% of all children in the state were deemed in poverty in 2019, the report shows that 35% – nearly twice as many – lived in families defined as ALICE(Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE households earn more than the Federal Poverty Level, but less than what it costs to live and work in the modern economy. Combined, 55% of Tennessee’s children lived in households below the ALICE Threshold, with income that doesn’t meet the basic costs of housing, child care, health care, transportation and a smart phone plan.

Undercounting the number of children who are at risk can have lifelong consequences,” said Mary Graham, TAN Lead Staff and CEO of United Ways of Tennessee. “Thousands of children are locked out of receiving critical supports for stable housing, food, and quality education, all of which can inhibit healthy child development.” 

Because ALICE households often earn too much to qualify for public assistance, the report finds that more than 529,000 at-risk children didn’t access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. Tennessee lags behind its neighbors with just 36% of at-risk children enrolled in SNAP, compared with 42%in Mississippi, 40% in Alabama and 53% in West Virginia.

Other findings from ALICE in Focus: Children include:

  • Having two working parents didn’t guarantee financial stability: 33% of Tennessee children lived in a home with two working adults whose income didn’t meet the cost of basic needs in 2019.
  • Among households below the ALICE Threshold, families of Black children had the lowest homeownership rate at 24% in comparison with 88% of families of white children.
  • Nearly 270,000children in households earning below the ALICE Threshold had no high-speed internet access at home.

“Having accurate, complete data is the foundation for designing equitable solutions,” said United For ALICE National Director Stephanie Hoopes, Ph.D. “COVID-19 hit ALICE families so much harder than others because they struggle to build savings yet often don’t qualify for financial assistance.”

According to the new research, 37% of Tennessee families below the ALICE Threshold reported in the fall of 2021 that their children “sometimes or often” didn’t have enough to eat, in contrast with 16% of higher income families.

More data is available through the ALICE in Focus: Children interactive data dashboard – which provides filters for regional and local geographies, age, race, disability status, living arrangements and household work status. Visit UnitedForALICE.org/Focus-Children.

ALICE in Focus: Children is the first installment in the ALICE in Focus Research Series, which draws from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS). Each installment in the series will highlight a specific segment within the ALICE demographic. Upcoming topics include people with disabilities and veterans.

AboutUnited Ways of Tennessee   

United Ways of Tennessee is the association of 30 United Ways in our state, coming together for collective action.  As our state's leading community solutions provider, United Way is the driving force behind many initiatives that provide solutions to our most critical needs.  

Our mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of Tennessee United Ways. We are working to advance the common good by focusing on the building blocks for a good life—education, income and health. United Way provides more than $90 million in funding each year to more than 1,200 agencies and programs in Tennessee, and we are directly involved in programs and initiatives that address crucial community needs.

AboutTennessee Afterschool Network

The mission of the Tennessee Afterschool Network is to support children, youth, families, and communities by advocating and building capacity with a unified voice for sustainable investments in safe, healthy, and nurturing afterschool experiences. The Tennessee Afterschool Network accomplishes its mission through a series of initiatives and projects.

About United For ALICE 

United For ALICE is a driver of innovation, research and action to improve life across the country for ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and for all. Through the development of the ALICE measurements, a comprehensive, unbiased picture of financial hardship has emerged. Harnessing this data and research on the mismatch between low-paying jobs and the cost of survival, ALICE partners convene, advocate and collaborate on solutions that promote financial stability at local, state and national levels. This grassroots ALICE movement, led by United Way of Northern New Jersey, has spread to 24 states and includes United Ways, corporations, nonprofits and foundations in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., West Virginia and Wisconsin; we are United For ALICE. For more information, visit: UnitedForALICE.org

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Posted by Kelley Nave