LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Candace Ingram is a single mother of two who is currently living below the poverty line.
Ingram said without help, surviving on her income would be extraordinarily difficult.
"This town is definitely not designed for single people with one income,” Ingram said. “It feels like no matter how hard I'm working, I just keep falling downhill. There's just no way I can do it without the community's help, without my parents help, without my friends help. It's just impossible."
Just this week, the 2018 ALICE report showed an increase in poverty in Louisiana.
The Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed report, or “ALICE” report is a study of financial hardship done by United Way. It takes aim at offering assistance to those who fall below the poverty line.
To read the ALICE report from United Way, click HERE.
Denise Durel is the President and CEO of SWLA’s United Way and said that increase is a result of the growth in the Lake Area.
“It’s interesting that we’ve got so many people coming in from all over the globe to live here now, but what that’s doing is it’s taking the people who are from here, who have grown up here, who are already struggling. It only makes their life a lot more difficult,” Durel said. “We’re in a catch-22 where we have part of our community that’s doing really well and part that is not.”
The report shows that, overall, in the state of Louisiana, there was a seven percent increase in families living in poverty.
“What everybody anticipated was that our numbers would actually get better,” Durel said. “Even from the 2013 report; and in 2014 and 2016, we actually have more people struggling.”
United Way has stepped in to try and assist those in need by providing assistance with taxes, utilities, food and more. For people like Ingram, the ALICE report is there to level out the playing field.
“My message is: yes, we’re working. We work hard,” Ingram said. “That doesn’t mean we don’t deserve that extra little bit of help. At least we are showing that we are trying. So, I believe in the United Way project and I’m going to believe in ALICE; that it can do big things for our community and it can help us.”