Meet ALICE and the ALICE Initiative

Meet ALICE and the ALICE Initiative

By now, you may have heard the term ALICE and know that it refers to a segment of the population that is Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. What does that mean? It means these are the households who exist above the Federal Poverty Line, but still struggle to make ends meet. The Federal Poverty Line was developed in the 1960ʻs and while it does account for inflation, household cost breakdown and society has changed significantly since then. The majority of people do not walk to work and internet access is a necessity. The Federal Poverty Line is used to determine many support services, as well. So, once a household makes more than that income, support does not readily exist.

So, ALICE Households have working or retired adults who are barely able to make it and can’t sustain any additional impacts to their expenses or earnings. What does this mean? If one earner in an ALICE Household loses their job or loses affordable childcare, it can mean disaster. What happens when gas prices rise or a child needs glasses? Something needs to be cut from the budget and ALICE Households make these tough calls every day. When they canʻt meet everyday needs, there is a spiral into poverty that is inescapable.

The ALICE Initiative uses cutting edge data to make sure that ALICE Households have a chance and have a voice. We invest in the most impactful nonprofits working to enable these households to achieve greater financial stability, savings, and access stable, safe, and affordable housing. How do we do this? We convene the best nonprofits working in these areas, advocate for sensible legislation, and bring cutting edge reporting and tools to inform the work. The ALICE Initiative is focused on transformative, long-term change. When donors invest in ALICE, they are investing in complex work that brings together a wide network of resources all working together to achieve better results.

The ALICE Fund from 2022-2024, presented by Aloha United Way and Hawai’i Community Foundation, is investing in a new cohort of nonprofits working collectively. What does that mean? Instead of working as a program grantee, each of the agencies will work together to achieve a common goal using the same metrics, tools, and resources. This is very different from how a grant would work in terms of both scale and impact. The ALICE Initiative seeks to lift, what is an estimated 59% of all households here in the state to a higher level of financial stability and housing security. The cohort will work to increase public access to benefit programs and job training or career advancement opportunities. They will also improve access to loans and matching savings programs, while building a movement through effective community organizing and advocacy to create more affordable housing opportunities. It is thanks to donors that we are able to work at such a scale and deliver the data and resources needed to fuel progress.

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