Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE)
ALICE, an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, is a new way of defining and understanding the struggles of households who earn above the Federal Poverty Level but not enough to afford a basic household budget. For far too many families in our community, the cost of living outpaces what they earn, which means every month is a struggle to make ends meet and leaves no savings for emergencies or investing in their family’s future education, homeownership or retirement.
Despite working hard, these households struggle to manage even their most basic needs – housing, food, transportation, and health care. When funds run short, cash-strapped households are forced to make impossible choices, such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent, filling a prescription or fixing the car. These short-term decisions have long-term consequences not only for ALICE families, but for all of us. ALICE could be a child care worker, parent on Social Security, cashier at your local supermarket, healthcare worker, salesperson at your big box store, waitress, home health aide, or an office clerk.