Do you know ALICE?

Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed

We partnered with United Ways across Michigan, with help from the Consumers Energy Foundation, to bring you the ALICE Project. The United Way ALICE Report provides the most comprehensive look at Michigan and Kent County residents who are struggling financially: 38% of households in Kent County could not afford basic needs such as housing, child care, food, health care, and transportation in 2015.

Who is ALICE?

Standing for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed - ALICE represents those in our communities who are working yet still struggling to make ends meet. ALICE households earn more than the U.S. poverty level, but less than the basic cost of living for the county. 

ALICE represents the men and women of all ages and races who get up each day to go to work, but who face tough financial choices. ALICE is not an individual, but a conceptual blending of all those in our community who bring home a paycheck that doesn’t stretch to cover household needs. ALICE is glad to have a job, proud of their work, and happy to contribute to the community. ALICE has no cushion. ALICE has no fall back. Their assets are limited, and their income is constrained. ALICE is one crisis away from extreme poverty.

At least 25% of Kent County is ALICE.

 

Total Population Struggling to Afford Basic Needs Across Kent County

 
 
 

Consequences of living below the ALICE Threshold

There are serious consequences for both ALICE households and their communities. ALICE households are forced to make difficult choices such as skipping preventative health care, accredited child care, healthy food or car insurance. These “savings” threaten their health, safety, and future.

ALICE workers are essential to the fabric of our society. ALICE works in jobs that are integral to our communities, from child care educators and home health aides to mechanics – we rely on every day. The future success of our communities is directly tied to the financial stability of ALICE households. When ALICE suffers and is forced to make difficult choices, we all face serious consequences.

What are we doing to help ALICE?

The key is prevention and intervention – finding ways to keep people from falling off the edge, either into ALICE or from ALICE into poverty

  1. We are raising awareness about ALICE and continuing the dialogue among community leaders about how, together, we can provide ALICE an opportunity to succeed.
  2. We are breaking stereotypes and educating that ALICE not only exists here in Michigan, but is growing, and that ALICE's struggles affect the economic well-being of all residents.
  3. We are supporting local programs that offer short-, medium-, and long-term solutions for ALICE.