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SEE WHY: Families of four in Lowndes County need $39.50 an hour to meet the budget standard

Posted at 5:43 PM, Jul 05, 2024
  • Over 24,000 households in Lowndes County are not meeting the standard of living, according to the ALICE Report.
  • Local nonprofits, including Greater Valdosta United Way, are collaborating with the state to secure more resources for South Georgia.
  • Watch the video to hear from them about how they're helping neighbors.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT

Over 24,000 households in Lowndes County are not meeting the standard of living.

Local nonprofits are looking to lower that number.

I'm Malia Thomas, your neighborhood reporter in Valdosta.

I'm checking in with those nonprofits on what's being done to help.

If you've been following my stories on food and housing insecurity since December, you'll see many neighbors are struggling to make ends meet.

Just ask Kevin Johnson, who's lived it and sees it firsthand.

"It's good that people donate clothes and food, but that's just not enough to keep the lights on."

He tells me the main issue for Valdosta is...

"Housing and job related."

Jeff Sherman, another neighbor, tells me apartments just a few years ago were easily $500 a month. Now he's paying...

"$250 a week... not a good feeling."

The Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, or ALICE Report for Lowndes County paints a similar picture.

They've assessed the standard of living here, and their report indicated that in order to survive, a single adult would have to make $14.84 an hour, well above the state's minimum wage of $7.25, but slightly below Lowndes average wage of $16.65 an hour.

Families have the most trouble though, as a family of four would need $39.50 an hour to meet ALICE's budget standard.

"We have a responsibility to lead not just for our own citizens, but speak up for the region."

Michael Smith is CEO of Greater Valdosta United Way.

He and other local nonprofits have been working with the state to get more resources for South Georgia.

"Hopefully this Alice data is a critical point where people can really understand what they truly need to make on an hourly basis."

ALICE also reports that the labor force hasn't fully bounced back either, with 61% of the county participating, a bit less than the state average of 63%. In Valdosta, I'm Malia Thomas, reporting for ABC27.