‘We took 75,000 calls:’ Northeast Florida families desperate for relief on bills, groceries

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A newly released report found thousands of families in Northeast Florida are struggling to pay their rent, utilities, or grocery bills. Some of these people have to work two jobs and they are still living paycheck to paycheck.


We first told you about the ALICE report findings last week.

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The report showed that 187,000 families were defined as “asset limited, income constrained, employed.”

“That’s a lot of words to say these are people who are working and are still struggling financially,” Melanie Patz said. “In some cases, they’re working more than one job.”

Patz is the CEO and President of United Way, located in Downtown Jacksonville.

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“We took 75,000 calls last calendar year,” Patz said. “A lot of those calls are financial in nature.”

When people call into the United Way, the non-profit can connect families to affordable food options, like food banks or summer lunch programs for kids. The organization also receives donations and funding to provide rental assistance and it partners with JEA to help with utility bills.

“These are not people who are not trying. These are people who are trying and still struggling,” Patz said. “They are worthy of support and of assistance.”

To get assistance or give assistance, whether it be a donation or volunteering you can visit https://unitedwaynefl.org/. You can also call 211 to be connected with resources.

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