Why     How     What

August 4, 2020

Regional Launch of ALICE 2020

For those that aren’t familiar with the term, ALICE stands for “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.” At its core, it is a new way of defining and understanding the struggles of households that earn just above the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough for a survival budget.

ALICE families struggle to meet even their most basic needs such as housing, food, transportation, child care, health care, and necessary technology. When funds run short, these families are forced to make impossible choices between child care or paying the rent… filling a prescription or fixing a car

On Thursday, August 13, at 11 a.m., three Hudson Valley United Ways (United Way of Westchester and Putnam, United Way of Rockland and United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region) presented a virtual workshop on ALICE® 2020 in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester counties.

Learn more about the 2020 ALICE Report from the recording below of the webinar, UWWP hosted yesterday in partnership with United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, and the United Way of Rockland County.

Even before COVID-19 hit, 38% of Hudson Valley households were already one emergency away from financial ruin, setting the stage for an unprecedented economic crisis in the Hudson Valley for the next several years, according to the latest state ALICE® Report released by United Way of New York State.

The 2020 ALICE® report shows the Hudson Valley’s low-income families systematically lost buying power and financial stability as the cost of essentials outpaced wages. Meanwhile, the number of jobs that provide a living wage did not keep pace with the state’s population. The result was that 273,609 of the Hudson Valley’s 723,177 households in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester counties were ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) or in poverty, a large number even before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.  READ THE REPORT

“The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is showing critical areas of need for our economy, health care system, and education capacity during a national crisis. No one is immune to its direct or indirect effects, but ALICE families are particularly vulnerable to hardship from both illness and economic disruption,” said Brenda Episcopo, President and CEO of United Way of New York State, who commissioned the report. Episcopo will be a featured guest during the Virtual Workshop on ALICE® in the Hudson Valley.

The report calls for stakeholders across all sectors to use its findings to remove obstacles to financial stability, identify gaps in community resources and build data-driven solutions to help ALICE families achieve economic stability, bolstering the state’s economy overall.

The most recent ALICE report shows that over the last few years, New York and the Hudson Valley’s economy rebounded and the state made investments to assist those living in poverty. However, there is still a large number of Hudson Valley residents who lack sufficient income and resources to pay for housing, food, child care, transportation, and health care. The report continues to show that ALICE lives in every part of our region, from our largest cities to our most rural areas.

Using data from the census and a number of economic studies produced in 2018, The 2020 New York ALICE report shows that:

  •       To meet the ALICE threshold for survival, a Hudson Valley 4-person household (two adults, two children in care) needs an average annual income of $99,242.40 or $49.62 per hour.
  •       An individual living in the Hudson Valley needs an average annual income of $35,510.40 or $17.76 per hour, to meet the household survival budget.
  •       Economic data show that the number of low-wage jobs increased by 33% from 2007 to 2018 and accounted for the largest number of jobs in New York in 2018.
  •       All but one of New York’s 62 counties have 30 percent or more households earning less than what is needed to afford a basic household budget.

The report debuts a new measurement called the ALICE Essentials Index. This Index chronicles how the cost of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and a smartphone plan rose at nearly twice the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

Here are links to the presentation deck, the 2020 NYS ALICE Report, and the NY page on the United for ALICE website.