New research data highlights financial struggles across county

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CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill (WCIA) — New national research data is shedding light on financial hardships across the country. It breaks it down by state and county, including Champaign county.

The study initiative comes from “The United ALICE in Illinois Project.” ALICE refers to households that are “asset limited, income constrained, and employed.” The study says people who fall into that category are put into a tough financial situation.

In Champaign County, 24% of about 83,000 total households fall into the ALICE threshold. That means they earn more than the federal poverty level, but make less than the basic cost of living for the state.

The Champaign County Housing Authority says a good portion of the clients they help are ALICE households. They see their struggles firsthand.

“People get evicted…bad credit scores, and some people get desperate and do crime. We have to be stewards of the public trust, and do what’s right, and follow our program…but it’s hard when you have to terminate somebody because they may have committed some crimes or they may not have the income to pay for their bills,” says housing authority Executive Director David Northern.

Northern also says situations for people in the ALICE threshold vary depending on things like family size or medical expenses. He says their average client makes about $17,000 a year.

The ALICE project data says in 2017, the average cost of living in Illinois for a single person was about $19,000. For a family of four, it was around $57,000.

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