Blog Archives

Editorial: Plight of the working poor

October 9, 2016

We can see the homeless, though some of us may look away. But there is no social reflex for responding to the masses of neighbors who struggle to survive financially every day. A fallout of our long economic crisis is that it now eludes focus. The United Way has spent the last few years trying to put a face on people who live in households above the Federal Poverty Level but below the basic cost-of-living threshold. United Way dubbed them ALICE, a more memorable handle than “Asset-Limited, Income-Constricted Employed.”

Continue reading: Stamford Advocate


Newtown Bee The Minimal Effect Of The Minimum Wage Hike

1/16/2015 

On the other hand, even when the hourly minimum wage reaches its apex in January 2017, it will still leave workers with their heads barely above the poverty line.

According to a 121-page report issued by United Way of Connecticut this past November, 51 percent of Connecticut wage earners earn less than $20 per hour, or $40,000 a year, full time. Those working poor are what the United Way report called the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, or ALICE population. What is referred to in the ALICE report as the Household Survival Budget suggests that in Newtown, where 15 percent of households fall below the ALICE threshold, a single adult would need to earn at least $10.32 per hour, full time, to afford the essentials of life. A family of four needs full-time employment totaling an hourly wage of $31.80 per hour.

Continue reading: NewtownBee.com


Easton Courier Help ALICE

12/7/2014 

This fall Connecticut United Way released the first statewide ALICE Report, a data-driven, comprehensive research project that quantifies the situation confronting many low-income working families across the state in urban, suburban and rural communities.

ALICE — a United Way acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed — is an often overlooked population composed of men and women of all ages and races who work hard but still face financial hardship.

The report documents that the number of Connecticut households unable to afford all of life’s basic necessities far exceeds the official federal poverty statistics. In Connecticut, 25% of all households have earnings above the federal poverty level but below a basic cost-of-living threshold defined in the United Way ALICE Report. Together with the 10% of households below the poverty level, 35% of all Connecticut households are struggling to make ends meet.

Continue reading: EastonCourier.com


The Day Problems known, solutions more elusive

11/25/2014 

On the campaign trail in September, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced a series of initiatives aimed at encouraging job creation and business growth, along with more state investment in affordable housing.

We agreed with those proposals then. Now, in the wake of a detailed United Way report showing that financial struggles are startlingly and stubbornly pervasive throughout the state, the need for those initiatives has taken on a sense of absolute urgency.

The United Way’s study of financial hardship in the state focused specifically on a segment of the population labeled as ALICE – Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. While 10 percent of the state’s population is officially designated as living in poverty, more than a third of Connecticut’s families struggle to afford the basic necessities of food, housing, child care, health care and transportation.

They live below the ALICE line, not making enough to live with any sense of economic security.

Continue reading: TheDay.com


Newtown Bee Having and Not Having

11/20/2014 

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.

Continue reading: NewtownBee.com


CT Post Life on the edge: one crisis away

11/16/2014 

Connecticut is pulling out of the devastating recession that began in 2008, with thousands of jobs added every month and the unemployment rate dropping to a six-year low of 6.4 percent.

But a comprehensive study released Sunday by the United Way agencies in the state indicates the recession’s effects persist. A startling 35 percent of the population in one of the wealthiest states in the country is just a crisis away from financial disaster.

Poverty, comprising 10 percent of that number, has been well documented previously and many programs are in place to help, though perhaps not enough.

Continue reading: CTPost.com


Hartford Courant Too Many Working Families Can’t Make Ends Meet

11/16/2014 

It’s not a secret that there are significant pockets of poverty in Connecticut: 10 percent of the state’s households live below the federal poverty line.

There is also, according to a study released Sunday by the 16 United Ways in Connecticut, a large cohort of working people — another 25 percent of households — whose income puts them above the poverty line, but not far enough above it to make ends meet. The study calls this population ALICE, for “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.”

Put simply, more than a third of the state’s households are struggling.

A major theme of the ALICE study is that the federal poverty line doesn’t remotely reflect the actual cost of living in the state. The study uses a tool called the Household Survival Budget, which compiles the minimum cost of necessities such as housing, child care, health care, food and transportation.

Continue reading: Courant.com