United Way Report: More than a third of CT families struggling

- FILE - Connecticut State Capitol (WTNH)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – A new report from the United Way highlights Connecticut families that are struggling to make ends meet, while not technically living below the federal poverty line.

The United Way came up with the acronym “ALICE” for this demographic. It stands for: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. These are folks who have jobs, but don’t have the assets, and don’t make enough money, to keep up with the high cost of living in Connecticut.

According to the report, a quarter of all households in Connecticut meet the definition of an ALICE family. That works out to about 330,000 households. If you combine that with the 10% living below the poverty line, 35% of the people in Connecticut are struggling to pay for essentials.

“ALICE represents the many men and women in Connecticut’s households of all ages and races who get up each day to go to work, but who aren’t sure if they’ll be able to put dinner on the table each night,” read part of the report. “ALICE is your nursing assistant, childcare worker, home health aide, car mechanic, security guard, teacher assistant, store clerk, and office assistant – workers essential to every community’s success, but who struggle to survive on what these jobs pay.”

The United Way developed a “Household Survival Budget” for Connecticut, showing a family of four needs $64,689 in annual take home pay just to pay for the bare essentials. The report finds child care to be the most expensive item for ALICE families. For those already struggling, something as ordinary as unexpected car trouble is enough to trigger a real financial crisis.

As part of its report, the United Way stresses the help it already gives struggling families. The organization invests millions in child care and early learning, offers budget coaching programs, and allocates more than $3.8 million a year to help families pay for basic needs such as food and shelter.

Those in need can access those services by dialing 2-1-1 Those who want to help can contact the United Way to find out how to volunteer or give to United Way’s Community Impact fund.

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