Who is ALICE?
ALICE is an acronym for Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained Employed individuals living in our community. ALICE is a term designed by researchers from Rutgers University in New Jersey. United Ways have made it their mission to help these individuals, those who are working but not making enough to make ends meet.
ALICE individuals earn more than the Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living for the county, known as the ALICE Threshold. The number of households below the ALICE Threshold changes over time; households move in and out of poverty and ALICE status as their circumstances improve or worsen. The ALICE report is important for many reasons. Not only does it give service providers a truer idea of who needs help, but it also reinforces the need for additional services in the community.
ALICE individuals encompass the full spectrum. Some are families with young children, struggling to pay for childcare while also paying the increasingly high rent rates in Pinellas County. Others may be retail workers earning minimum wage, with very little in savings to help them during an unplanned medical crisis. ALICE are men and women, young and old.
In Pinellas County alone, 30% of households are ALICE. In Manatee, 33% are, and in Sarasota, 28% are.
Many ALICE individuals may benefit from free civil legal aid. In addition to helping with tax returns through our LITC (low income tax clinic) program, GLS also can help ALICE individuals with credit issues, debt collectors, issues with housing discrimination, and health insurance discrepancies or inequities. In addition, we can help facilitate divorce proceedings, assist with child custody, and even help with injunctions for protection.
ALICE individuals need assistance wherever they can get. Food pantries like St Vincent De Paul and free medical clinics like The St Pete Free Clinic can help ALICE individuals afford childcare or fix a flat tire. Childcare scholarships from the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas and GLS’s help obtaining EITC and tax refunds can mean the difference between eating dinner and going without. In many circumstances, ALICE individuals are one step away from homelessness.
With our communities help, we can stop that from happening.