I Am ALICE

[Photo 1: I Am ALICE]
I Am ALICE

[Photo 2: Officials participate in ALICE round-table discussion]
(l to r) HUD Hartford Field Office Director Suzanne Piacentini, Executive Director for the HOPE Partnership Lauren Ashe, Senior Director for Community Resources for the Middlesex United Way Ed Bonilla, Executive Director for the Middlesex Habitat for Humanity Sarah Bird, and Project Manager for the Connection Dawn Parker, with ALICE front and center.

On June 21, 2016, HUD's Offices of Field Policy and Management and Public and Indian Housing hosted a learning roundtable for HUD staff as well as staff from the Connecticut housing authorities. Led by the Shoreline Basic Needs Task Force, the group was introduced to ALICE. ALICE stands for Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed and she represents anyone with a household income above the federal poverty level, but below a basic cost-of-living threshold.

In Connecticut, 1 in 4 households (more than 330,000 households) have earnings above federal poverty level but below a basic cost-of-living threshold and 1 in 3 or 35% of Connecticut households are ALICE or living below the poverty line. As ALICE represents every race, ethnicity, and gender, the discussion allowed participants to view the issues that may help or hurt ALICE through a local, state and federal lens and raised awareness among the housing partners.

The ALICE study, funded by the United Ways throughout Connecticut (as well as in five other states), is being used to educate Connecticut residents on the need for increased affordable housing, improved zoning to allow for accessory apartments, multiple family dwellings and denser housing to assist the ALICEs in every community--our neighbors, friends, co-workers and family members alike.

Dawn Parker, Project Manager for the Connection; Ed Bonilla, Senior Director for Community Resources for the Middlesex United Way; Sarah Bird, Executive Director for the Middlesex Habitat for Humanity; and Lauren Ashe, Executive Director for the HOPE Partnership, presented on behalf of the Shoreline Basic Needs Task Force and included compelling stories from individuals who, through a variety of circumstances, found themselves in the ALICE group. These included a single parent with a child having a severe medical illness, an elderly homeowner who lost her spouse, the primary wage earner in the family and a veteran who simply fell on hard times--all of which ultimately benefited from newly created affordable housing in their community. They also showed a video created by the children of ALICE households describing their living situations and how they coped with living in a severely income constrained household. The group also shared individual ALICE flashcards detailing, without names, how ALICE households are living.

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Content Archived: January 3, 2018