Connecticut's ALICE families work hard and still struggle to make ends meet

Friday, March 6, 2015

Join us at the Legislative Office Building on Tuesday, March 10 for a legislative forum on how to help ALICE families in Connecticut

HARTFORD, CT -- Connecticut United Ways recently issued a ground-breaking report on the portion of the state population it calls ALICE, an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained Employed. The report details how, despite working hard, 25 percent of Connecticut households have earnings above the federal poverty level but below what United Way calls the ALICE Threshold, which is based on a conservative estimate of how much income is necessary to afford basic needs in the community in which they live.

Together, ALICE households and households in poverty account for 35 percent of all households in Connecticut, demonstrating that more than one third of households in the state face financial hardship.

On Tuesday, March 10, the Connecticut Commission on Children will join with the Connecticut United Ways to hold a legislative forum focusing on ways to help more of these families find the security they need to achieve the American Dream. Speakers will include ALICE families, legislators, community leaders, business leaders, and policy experts.

The event will run from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. in Room 2-C of the Legislative Office Building (LOB), at 300 Capital Avenue in Hartford. The forum is free and open to the public, though anyone planning to attend is asked to register at: http://bit.ly/ALICEForum2015.

ALICE households are composed of all races, exist in all age groups, and live in every city and town in the state, representing a cross-section of Connecticut's population:

  • Even with one of the country's highest median hourly wages, 51 percent of all jobs in Connecticut pay less than $20/hour ($40,000/year if full-time). The average annual income needed by a family of four (2-adults with 1-infant and 1-pre-K child) in order to survive in Connecticut is $64,889. This is more than double the U.S. poverty level.
  • Every city and town in Connecticut has ALICE households. In more than two-thirds of Connecticut's cities and towns, 20 percent or more households fit the ALICE definition for financial hardship.

We know and depend on ALICE to help our communities thrive, and ALICE works hard yet struggles to survive. ALICE is your nursing assistant, child care worker, home health aide, car mechanic, teacher assistant, and store clerk.

Helping ALICE families achieve financial stability will strengthen our communities and enhance the long-term social and economic well-being of our state.

"This report confirms that while the Great Recession is over, the tremendous strains that Connecticut families have been under since at least 2007 have not gone away," said Elaine Zimmerman, executive director of the Commission on Children. "But by bringing together people of various viewpoints, we can craft public policies that help these families thrive and help Connecticut's economy reach its full potential."

"ALICE households are vital to our state's economic well-being, and we all know and depend on ALICE," said Richard Porth, President and CEO of United Way of Connecticut. "The ALICE legislative forum provides an opportunity for people who care about ALICE to think together about short-term and longer-term strategies that can lead to opportunity and financial stability for ALICE households."

To get the full ALICE report, multi-media presentations, and other material concerning the forum, visit http://www.cga.ct.gov/coc/alice_forum.htm.

About Connecticut United Ways
Connecticut United Ways identify and build upon strengths and assets in their local communities, helping individuals and groups find ways to contribute their time and talents, support direct-service programs and community-change efforts, and advocate public policy changes toward advancing the common good.  Connecticut United Ways advance the common good by creating opportunities for all, with a particular focus on education, income, health, and basic needs - the building blocks for a good quality of life. We engage people and organizations throughout our communities who bring passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done, and we invite everyone to be part of the change.

About the Commission on Children
Created with bipartisan support in 1985 by the Connecticut General Assembly, the Commission on Children brings together the various levels of government, the private sector, nonprofit agencies, and philanthropy to promote public policies in the best interests of children. Its board members, who serve as volunteers, are appointed by legislative leaders of both parties. It has a staff of five. For more information, visit www.cga.ct.gov/coc.

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Contacts:

Dawn Homer-Bouthiette
Connecticut Commission on Children
860-240-0085
dawn.homer-bouthiette@cga.ct.gov

Beau Anderson
United Way of Connecticut
860-571-7215
beau.anderson@ctunitedway.org

Website: www.ctunitedway.org

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