Who is ALICE?
ALICE, an acronym of Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, represents the growing number of families who are unable to afford the basics of housing, food, childcare, health care, technology, and transportation. Despite working hard, ALICE lives paycheck to paycheck and is one emergency away from falling into financial ruin.
ALICE in Hunterdon County
Approximately 18% of the Hunterdon County population is ALICE, and an additional 5% are below the federal poverty line. Combined, 23% of our neighbors regularly struggle to afford basic household necessities. These numbers are even higher for residents of Flemington Borough (48% of population is ALICE), Frenchtown Borough (46%), Lambertville City (34%), and Clinton Town (31%).
These are our neighbors who work in jobs that are essential to our county's economy, yet struggle every day to make ends meet. They are faced with Hunterdon County's high cost of living, high childcare costs, lack of public transportation, and jobs that are low paying (more than 50% of jobs in Hunterdon County pay less than $20 per hour).
Why ALICE Matters
In Hunterdon County, ALICE works in low-paying jobs that are the backbone of our communities. They are health care providers, grocery cashiers, food servers, childcare providers, maintenance, and sanitation workers. ALICE frequently is unable to cover all expenses, has little or no savings, and is forced to make tough financial decisions about which essential bills to pay and which to defer. Even when the economy was relatively strong, factors like job loss, out-of-pocket healthcare costs, or even a simple car repair could leave ALICE spiraling downward toward financial ruin. Although expanded government assistance programs are helping more New Jersey residents through this crisis, significant gaps remain - event more so for independent contractors, self-employed workers, and workers in the gig economy.
How you can help ALICE
The programs of United Way of Hunterdon County are built to support the need of ALICE in our community. We welcome volunteers to programs such as VITA, Tools 4 School, Holiday Hands, Thriving Communities, Financial Wellness, and donations to our Hunterdon Hygiene Connection. Together, these resources directly benefit and support our community, helping to offset costs, build technology skills, build financial stability, and more. Your volunteer hours and direct donations will help change the course for our ALICE neighbors.
Legal Services of New Jersey published the report, "True Poverty - New Jersey" (July 2021) with insightful county-by-county numbers that show the reality of how the high cost of living in Hunterdon County impacts our residents: Click here to see the report.