When the Rent Eats First

Katie feels stuck in her present living situation. She had been homeless earlier, but now, life is still a struggle for her. She reveals that her place is quite expensive, with activities concerning her safety and well-being. She works 40 hours a week, making a living by cleaning houses, yet finding another home seems impossible as her rent consumes almost 60% of her income due to various deductions.  “I feel stuck right now!” she depressingly admits. 

Paying more than 30% of one’s income on rent and utilities is considered “cost-burdened.” Katie’s situation is even worse as her rate exceeds 60%. Therefore, when it comes to paying the bills, the rent is given priority over everything else.  The rent eats first.

Katie’s household is one of the 38% of Blount Countians who need help affording their necessities but are not eligible for benefits or other aid programs. The United Way of Blount County refers to this population segment as “Asset-Limited, Income Constrained, Employed” or ALICE. It recognizes the importance of service workers like Katie in contributing to the community’s well-being.

As a Blount County United Way partner, A Place to Stay often helps folks like Katie find resources to make life feel less “stuck.”