Do You Know Alice?


"Do You Know ALICE?"

Disturbing data from the Federal Reserve’s inflation report last week paints an economic picture that is not as positive for everyone as some may believe. While the rate of inflation is significantly down from a year ago, month-overmonth inflation jumped and some key household items soared by historic amounts.

Consider these data points on a year-over-year basis: Auto insurance premiums jumped 20%, the largest increase since 1976. Nonprescription drug prices increased 9.2%, the largest increase ever. The cost to repair household items skyrocketed 18.2%, the largest increase ever. And finally, shelter prices rose 6% from the previous year.

As disturbing as the increases in insurance, household repairs, and medication may be, the jump in shelter prices should worry everyone the most. A recent Harvard study concluded that nearly half of all renters spend at least 30% of their paycheck on rent. This simply is not sustainable.

While all of us inevitably “feel” these price increases, lower-income Americans just above the Federal Poverty Line inevitably are impacted the most. United Way of Central Georgia recently unveiled a framework to identify these people known by the acronym ALICE, which stands for:

  • Asset Limited: ALICE families typically do not own a home or have any form of significant savings. They are essentially one financial emergency away from being swept into poverty.
  • Income Constrained: ALICE families have a limited income stream that barely provides the minimum to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.
  • Employed: ALICE Families are employed and are not looking for government or nonprofit assistance.

In short, ALICE families are vital community members/essential workers who are one paycheck away from slipping into poverty. For Bibb county alone there are over 20,000 ALICE households. Over the coming months, United Way will be rolling out a plan to help lift thousands of these ALICE families out of financial insecurity. Stay tuned for more updates.