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You are about to put yourself in the shoes of a typical ALICE® family. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE families are those that have earnings above the Federal Poverty Level, but below a basic cost-of-living threshold. In other words, they are struggling to make ends meet. More than one in four Connecticut families are ALICE; combined with those in poverty, more than one in three Connecticut households is experiencing financial hardship.

For the next few minutes, you'll experience some of the tough choices that these families have to make every single day and how United Way is doing all that we can to help them along the way.

You and your partner have two small children — one infant and one preschooler. After an unexpected layoff at your place of employment, you find yourself scrambling to find a new job. Your partner’s monthly earnings are $2000.

But there is some good news. You have three real job opportunities. The interviews went well, so you have good reason to be optimistic.

Choose your Job

  • Grocery Stockroom Associate

    $13.50/hour, 3rd shift, 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.,
    5 days a week

    Workers who hold third-shift jobs are often faced with difficulty finding childcare and transportation. Learn More

    ALICE workers hold many important jobs in our community like: Retail Sales, Waitstaff, Home Health Aides, Office Clerks, Receptionists, Teacher Assistants and Childcare Workers. Almost half of the jobs in Connecticut pay less than $40,000 a year, but it costs a minimum of $70,788 for a family of four to afford the essentials in our state. Close

  • Receptionist/Office Worker

    $12.00/hour, Part-time, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.,
    4 days a week

    49% of jobs in Connecticut pay less than $20 per hour, with two thirds of those jobs paying less than $15 per hour. Learn More

    ALICE workers hold many important jobs in our community like: Retail Sales, Waitstaff, Home Health Aides, Office Clerks, Receptionists, Teacher Assistants and Childcare Workers. Almost half of the jobs in Connecticut pay less than $40,000 a year, but it costs a minimum of $70,788 for a family of four to afford the essentials in our state. Close

  • Waitstaff at Local Restaurant

    $6.50/hour plus tips, Full-time evenings, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.,
    5 days a week

    49% of jobs in Connecticut pay less than $20 per hour, with two thirds of those jobs paying less than $15 per hour. Learn More

    ALICE workers hold many important jobs in our community like: Retail Sales, Waitstaff, Home Health Aides, Office Clerks, Receptionists, Teacher Assistants and Childcare Workers. Almost half of the jobs in Connecticut pay less than $40,000 a year, but it costs a minimum of $70,788 for a family of four to afford the essentials in our state. Close

Decide where you're going to live

  • Single-Family Homeowner

    Small house with 3 bedrooms

    ALICE households are often forced to spend more than 35% of their income on rent/mortgage and utility costs. This requires them to make tough choices, often forgoing basic necessities such as food, medicine and in some cases, heat. Learn More

    50% of renters and 35% of homeowners in Connecticut are considered housing burdened, meaning they spend more than one-third of their income on housing. This is due to the lack of affordable housing stock in Connecticut. Connecticut would need at least 100,000 more lower-cost rental units to meet the demand of renters below the ALICE Threshold. Close

  • Apartment Rental 1

    2-bedroom unit in a large complex

    ALICE households are often forced to spend more than 35% of their income on rent/mortgage and utility costs. This requires them to make tough choices, often forgoing basic necessities such as food, medicine and in some cases, heat. Learn More

    50% of renters and 35% of homeowners in Connecticut are considered housing burdened, meaning they spend more than one-third of their income on housing. This is due to the lack of affordable housing stock in Connecticut. Connecticut would need at least 100,000 more lower-cost rental units to meet the demand of renters below the ALICE Threshold. Close

  • Apartment Rental 2

    2-bedroom unit in an old house

    ALICE households are often forced to spend more than 35% of their income on rent/mortgage and utility costs. This requires them to make tough choices, often forgoing basic necessities such as food, medicine and in some cases, heat. Learn More

    50% of renters and 35% of homeowners in Connecticut are considered housing burdened, meaning they spend more than one-third of their income on housing. This is due to the lack of affordable housing stock in Connecticut. Connecticut would need at least 100,000 more lower-cost rental units to meet the demand of renters below the ALICE Threshold. Close

Choose your Childcare

  • Accredited Center-Based Childcare

    Your children are cared for in a high-quality center with social development and a structured early learning curriculum.

    Childcare is often the single largest expense for ALICE families. While there are subsidies for working families, some ALICE households exceed the eligibility threshold. Learn More

    Those ALICE families that do receive assistance are often faced with difficult choices around career advancement - sometimes passing up opportunities to move up at work because they can't afford to earn more money. Close

  • Licensed Home-Based Childcare

    Your children are cared for by a licensed individual with other children.

    Childcare is often the single largest expense for ALICE families. While there are subsidies for working families, some ALICE households exceed the eligibility threshold. Learn More

    Those ALICE families that do receive assistance are often faced with difficult choices around career advancement - sometimes passing up opportunities to move up at work because they can't afford to earn more money. Close

  • Family, Friends and Neighbors

    Your children are watched in your home or theirs, requiring you to cover basic expenses.

    Childcare is often the single largest expense for ALICE families. While there are subsidies for working families, some ALICE households exceed the eligibility threshold. Learn More

    Those ALICE families that do receive assistance are often faced with difficult choices around career advancement - sometimes passing up opportunities to move up at work because they can't afford to earn more money. Close

Choose your Transportation

  • Car

    You and your partner have one car that is paid for. You have to pay for insurance and gas every month.

    There is limited public transportation in Connecticut making it essential for most households to have a car. Without one, it's difficult to get to work, shop for food or transport kids to childcare, school or other activities.

  • Bus

    You and your partner each have a monthly bus pass.

    There is limited public transportation in Connecticut making it essential for most households to have a car. Without one, it's difficult to get to work, shop for food or transport kids to childcare, school or other activities.

Choose your Food

  • Fresh

    All of the freshest and healthiest options available to you including name brands

    Only 67% of Connecticut neighborhoods have a healthy food retailer within a half-mile. Learn More

    Many ALICE families make too much money for SNAP benefits (food stamps) but cannot afford to purchase enough healthy food for nourishing meals. Close

  • Mix

    A combination of fresh and frozen options with a mix of name brands and bargain brands

    ALICE households often lack access to healthy and affordable food as well as the time to prepare it. Learn More

    Many ALICE families make too much money for SNAP benefits (food stamps) but cannot afford to purchase enough healthy food for nourishing meals. Close

  • Low Cost

    Limited amounts of healthy options with lots of frozen and processed foods and bargain brands

    50% of ALICE families report that having enough food to eat is one of their biggest challenges right now. Learn More

    Many ALICE families make too much money for SNAP benefits (food stamps) but cannot afford to purchase enough healthy food for nourishing meals. Close