Danbury households stugglings are made of those “employed, but constrained”

By Zach Murdock September 8, 2018

A new United Way report delivers a sobering statistic: Half of Danbury households struggle to pay for necessities like housing, child care and groceries.

But those 15,400 households across the city are not the initial stereotype that first comes to many people’s minds, local officials warn.

These are families who are “employed but constrained,” not homeless or living in squalor. They have jobs, many earning $20 to $40 per hour, but who still struggle to afford the nearly $78,000 in basic needs the report estimates a family of four faces every year.

“We’re talking about your home health aid or your grocery store clerk, not somebody out there panhandling on the street,” said Kim Morgan, CEO of the United Way of Western Connecticut. “If 50 percent of the people of Danbury are quietly struggling to put food on the table or pay their bills, they’re not complaining about it or telling people out on the street.

“But they’re the ones who can’t write the check for their child’s sports team,” she continued. “These are families who have to pause at every decision and calculate how they are going to make this happen.”

The findings punctuate the United Way’s annual financial hardship report, which found that almost 40 percent of households across the state — almost 540,000 — live below the federal poverty line or hover just above it and qualify as United Way asset-limited, income-constrained and employed, or ALICE, households.

Continue reading: News Times


More Than 66% Of Residents In Connecticut Cities Can’t Afford Basic Necessities

By Davis Dunavin September 4, 2018

Nearly a third of Connecticut residents living above the poverty line can’t afford basic necessities. That’s according to a recent report from the United Way of Connecticut.

The organization says the state’s basic cost of living is more than twice the national average. The typical family’s budget for necessities like transportation and health care has gone up by more than 20 percent since 2010.

Connecticut’s cities fared the worst. More than two-thirds of the population in Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven can’t afford necessities. People in small cities, like Danbury, Ansonia and New London, are struggling too.

The United Way says the good news is unemployment is falling and wages are going up, especially for those working low-wage service industry jobs. But a lot of new jobs are gig-driven, like freelance or temporary work that typically aren’t as lucrative or reliable as a full-time job.

Continue reading:WSHU


40 percent in state can’t pay for basics

By Eric Bedner September 5,2018

More than half a million households, representing 40 percent of the state, cannot afford basic necessities, including housing and food, according to a new report from the United Way.

Connecticut’s United Way issued its report, which covers 2010, the end of the recession, through 2016 and found that despite working hard, many residents are living paycheck to paycheck and still can’t afford the basics.

“For those struggling households in Connecticut, low wages, tight budgets, and limited savings often mean making tough financial choices,” the report states. “Working parents choose between child care and healthy food for their children. Young adults juggling multiple jobs with inconsistent schedules choose between expensive rent and a long commute to work. Aging adults approaching retirement weigh whether to ignore car repairs or forgo a needed trip to the doctor.”

Continue reading: Journal Inquirer


New United Way ALICE report details struggles of working families in Connecticut

By Cassandra Day September 4, 2018

According to the 2018 Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed Report for Connecticut, 40 percent (or 538,529) of Connecticut households — four out of 10 families — have income which falls below what is needed to pay for basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, technology and transportation.

“Whenever we formally or informally raise the ALICE report in any kind of public setting, whether it’s at a specific workplace or forums on the shoreline, when you start to describe what ALICE is, people in the room or either totally ALICE or have been, or know people that are. It touches, or has touched, almost everyone,” said Kevin Wilhelm, president and CEO of the Middletown-based Middlesex United Way.

Ed Bonilla, vice president of community impact, has spent the last year or so talking to people on the shoreline about ALICE figures and holding forums in each town. Bonilla’s presentations offer sobering statistics.

“I tell people, ‘Did you go to your local coffee shop and get a coffee this morning — Dunkin’ Donuts or a convenience store?’ Most likely those folks are ALICE. We interact with them every day because they’re the ones that make our community run,” such as home health aides and child care workers.

The estimates in this third two-year study are conservative ones, said Wilhelm, who said the percentage of families in the ALICE group is increasing.

“We can’t distinguish at this point is it increasing because there are more of them or is it increasing because the survival budget is based upon actual estimates of the cost for each region. It’s very local and very custom,” he said.

Among the number of families living in the Middlesex United Way service area, 7 percent, or 4,693, are living under poverty conditions, and 25 percent, or 16,834, are ALICE. Sixty-eight percent of families, or 44,940, live above the ALICE line in this area.

Continue reading: The Middletown Press


Report: Many Connecticut households can’t pay for basic necessities

September 2, 2018

In Connecticut, almost half of households do not have the savings to cover three months of living expenses, risking a real financial spiral in the event of a typical family emergency (illness, car breakdown, appliance replacement, etc.).

In addition, the new ALICE Report reveals the following trends: Differences in financial security by age, race, and ethnicity persist, creating challenges for ALICE families. The growth in the “gig” economy and on-demand employment is shifting more financial risk to workers and ALICE households. ALICE families are more vulnerable to an unexpected emergency, because it is becoming more difficult to save and build assets. The changing composition of households are part of the ALICE story. The wealth-health gap in America leads to health insecurity. And the new ALICE Report provides many more insights into the causes and consequences of financial hardship.

The report recommends both short-term and long-term strategies to help affected families and strengthen communities. Connecticut’s United Ways are responding to provide a hand up for these households through a number of these short-term and long-term strategies.

Connecticut’s United Ways are helping working families to increase their financial security by building a life-long habit of saving. United Ways are promoting SaverLife Connecticut, which combines a goal-based savings incentive program digital financial coaching and online resources.

United Way organizations are working to help ALICE families build their assets and savings by supporting tax preparation at VITA sites where eligible families can secure tax credits (EITC, CTC) and begin saving, and through financial education and budget coaching.

Continue reading: New Haven Register


New United Way ALICE report details struggles of working families in Connecticut

By Cassandra Day September 4, 2018

According to the 2018 Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed Report for Connecticut, 40 percent (or 538,529) of Connecticut households — four out of 10 families — have income which falls below what is needed to pay for basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, technology and transportation.

“Whenever we formally or informally raise the ALICE report in any kind of public setting, whether it’s at a specific workplace or forums on the shoreline, when you start to describe what ALICE is, people in the room or either totally ALICE or have been, or know people that are. It touches, or has touched, almost everyone,” said Kevin Wilhelm, president and CEO of the Middletown-based Middlesex United Way.

Ed Bonilla, vice president of community impact, has spent the last year or so talking to people on the shoreline about ALICE figures and holding forums in each town. Bonilla’s presentations offer sobering statistics.

“I tell people, ‘Did you go to your local coffee shop and get a coffee this morning — Dunkin’ Donuts or a convenience store?’ Most likely those folks are ALICE. We interact with them every day because they’re the ones that make our community run,” such as home health aides and child care workers.

The estimates in this third two-year study are conservative ones, said Wilhelm, who said the percentage of families in the ALICE group is increasing.

“We can’t distinguish at this point is it increasing because there are more of them or is it increasing because the survival budget is based upon actual estimates of the cost for each region. It’s very local and very custom,” he said.

Among the number of families living in the Middlesex United Way service area, 7 percent, or 4,693, are living under poverty conditions, and 25 percent, or 16,834, are ALICE. Sixty-eight percent of families, or 44,940, live above the ALICE line in this area.

Continue reading: New Haven Register


In Connecticut, 538,529 households — 40 percent — could not afford basic needs such as housing, child care, food, transportation, health care

By Jonathan Kantrowitz September 4, 2018

In Connecticut, 538,529 households — 40 percent — could not afford basic needs such as housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology in 2016. This update of Connecticut United Ways ALICE Report provides the most comprehensive look at the population called ALICE — an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE households have incomes above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) but struggle to afford basic household necessities. The Report describes the cost of basic needs for each city and town in Connecticut, as well as the number of households earning below this amount — the ALICE Threshold — and focuses on how households have fared since the Great Recession ended in 2010. Despite overall improvement in employment and gains in median income, the economic recovery in Connecticut has been uneven. Many ALICE households continue to face challenges from low wages, reduced work hours, depleted savings, and increasing costs. For the many households who earned just above the ALICE Threshold in the past, the increases in the cost of living have pushed them below the Threshold and into financial hardship. The total number of Connecticut households that cannot afford basic needs increased 1 1 percent from 2010 to 2016.

Continue reading: Connecticut Post


Report: 40 Percent of Connecticut Households Can’t Afford Basic Needs

By Christine Stuart September 4, 2018

A new report from the United Way found there are 538,529 households or 40 percent of the population that can not afford basic needs, such as housing, food, health care, child care, technology and transportation.

Despite working hard, 30 percent of Connecticut households or 404,035 have earnings above the federal poverty line, but under a basic cost-of-living threshold, according to the United Ways ALICE report. ALICE is an acronym that stands for Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed.

The number of ALICE households increased from 352,699 in 2010 to 404,035 in 2016, the last year for which data is available. That’s an 11 percent increase in households that are struggling, but don’t necessarily qualify for government assistance such as Medicaid or food stamps.

Under the criteria developed by researchers, it costs nearly $78,000 a year for a family of four with one infant and one toddler to meet the basic needs in the ALICE household survival budget.

Paula Gilberto, president and CEO of United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, said 45 percent of that basic budget for the above family of four is housing and childcare and childcare alone is the single largest expense at 26 percent of the overall budget.

The report shows that between 2010 and 2016 the cost of childcare for families has increased 13 percent. The cost of housing during that same time period increased 9 percent and the cost of healthcare increase 82 percent.

In Connecticut, most ALICE households don’t have three months of savings to cover living expenses and that poses a real risk to any financial emergency such as an illness or a car breaking down or a major appliance needing to be replaced.

Continue reading: CT News Junkie


Report: 40 percent of CT households struggling to meet basic necessities

By Phill Hall September 4, 2018

Forty percent of Connecticut households are managing on incomes that are below the level needed to pay for basic necessities, according to a new report issued by United Way of Connecticut.

While 55 percent of Connecticut jobs pay $20 per hour or more, almost half of the state’s households lack the savings needed to cover three months of living expenses. United Way reported that at least 10 percent of households in every Connecticut city and town are ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households, where the adults in the family are working but are facing difficulty in meeting a basic household survival budget. United Way, which analyzed 2016 data for its report, also concluded that 30 percent of Connecticut households have earnings above the federal poverty line but under the ALICE threshold.

Furthermore, the new report determined that it costs approximately $78,000 a year for a family of four with one infant and one toddler to afford the basic needs of a household survival budget that includes housing, food, health care, child care, transportation and technology. United Way noted that the cost of living in Connecticut rose by 14 percent between 2007 and 2014, with child care and housing absorbing nearly half of the average ALICE families’ household budget.

Continue reading: Westfair Online


Report: Half of Danbury households cannot afford basic necessities

By Zach Murdock September 2, 2018

Half of Danbury households struggle to afford the most basic necessities, from housing to food to transportation, according to a United Way report released this weekend.

Those nearly 31,000 households fall below the federal poverty line or hover just above it and qualify as United Way asset-limited, income-constrained and employed — or ALICE — households.

“Despite overall improvement in employment and gains in median income, the economic recovery in Connecticut has been uneven,” the report begins. “Many ALICE households continue to face challenges from low wages, reduced work hours, depleted savings, and increasing costs.”

Across the state, 40 percent of households — almost 540,000 — are below the poverty line or meet the ALICE criteria, the report states.

Continue reading: News Times