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AUW report: Nearly half of Hawaii's households unable to make ends meet

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HONOLULU -

According to a new report from Aloha United Way, nearly half of Hawaii’s households can’t make ends meet.

Zi Jun Liu, a senior at McKinley High School, has already learned real-life lessons about living in the islands.

“We have X-amount of money to spend at the end of the week, and my parents will have to figure out how to be able to purchase enough food to last us the week with the money we have left after paying all the bills.” Explained Liu.

His parents moved here from China.  They’re among over 165,000 families living paycheck to paycheck, tirelessly working on a daily basis just to provide the basics.

According to a report released by Aloha United Way, Liu’s family would be classified as “ALICE”.

“ALICE is a United Way acronym.” Said President and CEO of Aloha United Way, Cindy Adams. “It stands for Asset limited, Income constrained, Employed.”

In the report, 48% of Hawaii households are “ALICE” and below. 11% of families live in poverty, while the rest are above the poverty line but barely get by.

“These are families and individuals in our community across the state who struggle every month to make ends meet.  They really have a very difficult time just paying for basic necessities in their household budget.” Said Adams.

Those necessities include housing, child and health care, transportation, and food. The Department of Health says the stress of not being able to make ends meet can also be detrimental to people’s health, as well as cause some youth to make the forced choice between work or an education.

Aloha United Way says in order to survive in Hawaii, a single adult needs to make a little over $28,000 a year. A four-person household needs an annual income of nearly $73,000.

The report aims to raise awareness and work on solutions to help those struggling to get by, and was compiled from federal, state, county, and district data.

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