Have You Met ALICE?


A growing crisis is sweeping our nation that impacts everyone regardless of race, gender, social class, or location. It’s a crisis of affordability. Whether you’re shopping at the grocery store or the tire store, key products and services are noticeably outpacing wages and disproportionately impacting those who are barely making ends meet. Consider a few key data points from mainstream sources:

A financial outlet tells us that the average household is paying $709 more per month to buy the same goods and services it did just two years ago. Grocery trips are costing the average consumer 23% more than they did before the pandemic while the average starter home requires a $1,600 monthly mortgage payment. Nearly half of Americans carry significant credit card debt while a historically low 37% of Americans feel very confident about their ability to retire. 

The result of an affordability crisis is inevitably increased levels of homelessness and poverty. The Wall Street Journal reported late last year that homelessness rates nationwide were up 11% year over year representing the largest surge since the financial crisis of 2008. 

Surging prices, stagnant wages, and increased consumer debt burdens mean that more Americans than ever are threatened with the prospect of living in poverty. United Way has developed a framework to identify these people called ALICE. 

What is ALICE?

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 strive for self-sufficiency.

ALICE individuals and families are everywhere. In Georgia, 1.3 million households are considered ALICE households. In Central Georgia between 20% and 35% of all households fall into the ALICE classification depending on the county.

While not all ALICE families look the same, they all face the same threat. As the affordability crisis continues to impact more people, these families are one small crisis away from being swept into poverty. To be clear, these people are not looking for a handout, they simply need a hand-up. 

Our mission at United Way is to disrupt the cycle of poverty by taking a multi-generational approach. We are proud to announce the official launch of United For Alice in Georgia which will address the systemic problems these families face. Learn more at https://unitedforalice.org/state-overview/Georgia