Poverty rate soaring in South Florida, study finds

Study finds 6 in 10 people in Miami are struggling to survive

MIAMI – If you're having trouble paying your bills, you're not alone.  A new study found that nearly six in 10 people in Miami are struggling to survive. 

The study on the working poor was commissioned by the United Way of Florida, and what they found is very grim news.

While the rich get richer, the working poor are losing ground, struggling to survive.

In Miami-Dade County, a whopping 58 percent of residents have problems paying basic bills, according to the study.

In Broward County, 44 percent of residents have trouble paying bills and 46 percent find it difficult to pay their bills in Monroe County.

"What you have is a percentage of the population that is severely at risk," Harve Mogul, president and CEO of the United Way of Miami-Dade, said.

The at-risk population includes people who work at fast food establishments, retail jobs or have entry-level white collar jobs -- many of whom make minimum wage.

The study reported that a survival budget for a family of four in Miami -- money to cover food, housing, transportation, health care, car insurance and childcare -- should be a minimum of $56,700 a year. That's up by $8,000 in the past three years.

"I'm working as a security guard part time on the weekends, but I'm trying to find a county job, hopefully. I mean this is my neighborhood. (I was) born and raised over here," Overtown resident Keino Horton said.

The study found that it's worse for single women households in Miami. There are more than 73,000 of them and 52 percent exist in poverty, while another 36 percent are struggling to get by.

The United Way is ready to help.

"We do have places for help," Mogul said. "You can go to one of our Centers for Financial Stability."

South Florida residents in need of help can call the United Way Financial Stability Centers at 305-688-3551 or visit their website at www.miamifinancialstablility.org.


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