United Way recognizes unique low-income population

The United Way works to educate the community and help those who may be in the ALICE position.
The United Way works to educate the community and help those who may be in the ALICE position.(WHSV)
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 6:21 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County is getting ready to honor ALICE Awareness Week, Nov. 15-19.

ALICE stands for asset limited, income constrained and employed. The term represents people whose income is higher than the national poverty level, but they make less than the basic cost of living.

“We know sometimes they’re just one flat tire away from financial ruin or maybe a sick day from losing a job, and so every paycheck counts and every dollar we’re able to raise in the local community goes directly to our local partners who are doing the work in the local community to help support them,” said Jo Benjamin, United Way Director of Community Impact.

The 2020 ALICE Report shows 61% of Harrisonburg residents and 36% of Rockingham County residents fall into the ALICE threshold. Benjamin said this population often lives paycheck-to-paycheck and usually don’t have savings to rely on.

“Their pay usually just meets their basic expenses, so it’s important for us to keep them in mind as we do our work just because they’re our friends, they’re our neighbors, they’re a vital part of our community, they’re part of what keeps our economy going,” Benjamin said.

She says the takeaway from this week is that the ALICE population doesn’t have to struggle. There’s help, and she says the United Way can help a person find it.

Benjamin says the United Way will highlight community partners who provide aid to the ALICE group. The organization will also post information online and send out emails.

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