Monthly Archives: November 2014

The Hour United Way unveils study that identifies region’s working poor

by Robin Sattler 11/21/2014 

Bonnee Pecquex is one of many in Connecticut who represent the changing face of poverty.

The 51-year-old Wilton resident is a divorced mother of three who struggles to work three jobs to support her family and in doing so, earns more than the official U.S. poverty level, but less than what she needs to support the basic cost of living.

“I fall between the cracks,” Pecquex said. “I’m actually not sure there are any programs out there that can even help me…I’ve been told that I’m not poor enough.”

Pecquex, however, is not alone.

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The Day United Way report identifies hurdles for the working poor

by Ann Baldelli 11/21/2014 

Housing and child care are two of the biggest hurdles for the working poor, as low-paid employees across southeastern Connecticut struggle to stay financially afloat in a state where 51 percent of the jobs pay less than $20 an hour.

That was one of many points highlighted Friday at the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut’s “Redefining a Hardworking America” program that attracted about 80 people concerned about the financial hardships faced by 26 percent of the population in New London County.

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Norwich Bulletin United Way report sheds light on new face of poverty in Connecticut

by Elizabeth Regan 11/21/2014 

A new report designed to give a face – and a name – to financial hardship in the state was introduced Friday by the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut at its Ledyard headquarters.

ALICE – an acronym for the Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, and Employed demographic – quantifies the households who live in the underserved gap between the poverty line and the cost-of-living threshold.

It takes a wage of $32 an hour for a family of four to meet the demands of a basic household budget, according to Rick Porth, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Connecticut. In New London County, 34 percent of households live below that threshold.

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Newtown Bee Having and Not Having


When the holidays get started in earnest next week, the town will again embark on a season of heightened sensibilities with a celebration of Thanksgiving. Elsewhere, the fulsome holiday spectacle of twinkling lights and jingling cash registers seems to go a little farther over the top with every passing year. But in Newtown the sense of what we have, etched as it is in high relief by what we have lost, has an authentic value worthy of our deepest thanks. It is this extra awareness of the fragile boundary between having and not having that made a report this week by the United Way of Connecticut about the extent of economic suffering in this affluent state, county, and town so unsettling.

The United Way reported that a quarter of the households in the state, while living above the official federal poverty level, are still unable to afford the basic living expenses in Connecticut. This economically stressed population has been christened ALICE (Assets Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) by the United Way. Including those officially identified as impoverished, 35 percent of the households in Connecticut are living below this critical ALICE threshold, where choices must be made every month about which bills not to pay. The numbers are not that much better in Newtown. About one in five local households (19 percent) fall short of the ALICE threshold.

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Hartford Courant Housing Is Key Leg Up For Connecticut’s Working Poor

by Alicia Woodsby 11/19/2014 

At the Partnership for Strong Communities, we like to say we’re not in the housing business, we’re in the opportunity business. We know a safe, affordable home providing access to jobs, education and needed services is a foundation a family can’t do without.

That is why we applaud the ALICE report (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) issued Sunday by the 16 United Ways of Connecticut. It underscores the perilous path Connecticut is on: 474,000 households that cannot access the opportunity they need to be fulfilled, productive taxpayers.

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Voices United Way Releases ALICE Report on Financial Hardship

by Linda Zukauskas 11/19/2014 

United Way of Greater Waterbury has worked with other United Ways to release a study that reveals 35 percent or 474,445 of Connecticut households are unable to pay for the costs of basic household needs.

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Newtown Bee Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed: United Way Report Shows That ALICE Is Everyone’s Neighbor

by Nancy K. Crevier 11/19/2014 

United Way of Connecticut released, on November 16, a 121-page, statewide report, documenting Connecticut households struggling to afford living expenses that exceed the official federal poverty level of $11,670 for an individual or $23,850 for a family of four. United Way calls this population ALICE, an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. In Newtown, one in five people meet these criteria and live with these daily economic challenges.

There have been many reports on the pressures on the middle class, said Richard Porth, president and CEO of United Way of Connecticut in a conference phone call on Wednesday, November 12. The ALICE report differs in the level of detail that will allow United Way to better understand what is going on, and look at both the costs and income sides of challenges, he said.

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The ALICE Report: Income Too Low, Housing Costs Too High

by Richard J. Porth 11/18/2014 

In a newly issued report on financial hardship in Connecticut prepared for Connecticut United Ways (and United Ways in five other states), Rutgers University researchers found that 51% of all Connecticut jobs pay less than $20/hour. Compare this to the calculation by the National Low Income Housing Coalition determining that Connecticut renters have to earn more than $23/hour to afford a typical two-bedroom unit without spending more than 30% of their income on housing.

Housing is the single largest – and least flexible – expense in most family budgets. Analysts agree that housing should cost no more than 30-33% of your income. However, many Connecticut families spend as much as 50% of their income on housing, leaving too few dollars for other basic needs. The result – bad options and lots of stress – hurts families and has a ripple effect throughout the community.

United Way coined an acronym for households that struggle to pay for housing and other basic needs: ALICE – Asset-Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE represents hard-working families whose earnings are above the federal poverty line but below a basic cost of living threshold established in the report. Over 330,000 Connecticut households live on ALICE wages.

ALICE lives in every Connecticut city and town. ALICE is your childcare worker, the bookkeeper in your office, your auto mechanic and the supermarket checker. ALICE just graduated college or is retired. ALICE is your neighbor who cares for an aging parent or whose adult children moved home.

When housing squeezes ALICE’s budget, difficult choices get made. Families live in unsafe housing. Fast food substitutes for fresh, healthy food. Emergency room treatment replaces cheaper, preventative care. People drive unsafe cars in need of repair or forego prescriptions that can keep them healthy.

United Ways invest in solutions that ease ALICE’s stress, but we invite the entire community to join in discussing the underlying issues preventing ALICE from getting ahead. Download the ALICE Report at and join the conversation.

Cross-posted from the Partnership for Strong Communities blog

HanRadio CoffeeBreak


Richard Porth of the United Way of Connecticut tells us about the ALICE Report, which found a half million people in Connecticut who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. They are hardworking residents who still struggle to make ends meet.

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A woman who is living among the half million Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed detailed in the United Way’s ALICE Report shares her story.

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CT Post Rescue Mission will help family

by Frank Juliano, 11/18/2014 

A Milford family faced with choosing between buying food and paying bills will get help from a Bridgeport social service agency.

The Bridgeport Rescue Mission will provide the Kallmanns a turkey with all of the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, and warm coats for the family of five.

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