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Report: More Connecticut Residents Are Struggling to Make Ends Meet


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — About 40 percent of Connecticut households are struggling to make ends meet.

That’s according to the Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed (ALICE) report by Connecticut United Way.

Of Connecticut’s 1,357,269 households, 10 percent lived in poverty in 2016. And another 30 percent were above the poverty threshold but struggling financially.

That 30 percent is known as ALICE.  ALICE population consists of households with income above the federal poverty level but below the basic cost of living. ALICE are, therefore, people making too much money to qualify for federal assistance but not enough money to meet basic needs such as housing, transportation, food, childcare and health care.

Combined, 40 percent , or 538,529 households, had income below the cost of living in Connecticut.

This information comes at a time when the unemployment rate has declined and others boast of booming economic times.

“At a time when we’re hearing good economic news, it’s surprising to see the working poor is increasing,” said Stephanie Hoops, lead researcher and director of the ALICE Project. “The economic prosperity is not reaching all households yet.”

The cost of basic household expenses increased steadily in Connecticut to $77,832 for a family of four (two adults with one infant and one preschooler) and $24,672 for a single adult.

In Connecticut, 45 percent of jobs paid less than $20 per hour in 2016. At the same time, many ALICE workers are still struggling possible because of an increase in contract jobs and on-demand jobs that created less stability. And gaps in wages persist.

Moreover, ALICE families are not just concentrated in Connecticut’s cities.

“ALICE families live in every town and every city in the state,” said President and CEO of Connecticut United Way Richard Porth.

In each Connecticut town at least 10 percent of families are ALICE households. And about half of families do not have enough savings to cover living expenses if they have unexpected expenses such as illness or a major car repair.

Featured Photo: Courtesy of Getty Image.

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Website Offers Access to Programs and Services


ROCKY HILL — A new feature on the 211ct.org website makes it easier for people to get connected with essential programs, services and information.

The 2-1-1 Connecticut recently announced the release of a new website feature, My 211 Account. Officials said the My 211 Account makes it easier for people to access the resources they need.

Visitors to the site can sign up for a free and start building, saving and sharing custom resource lists.

The 2-1-1 is a free, confidential information and referral service that connects nearly
94 percent of the nation to essential health and human services either online or over the phone. The 2-1-1 maintains a continuously updated database of more than 40,000 programs and services and is proud to be the first place Connecticut residents turn to access help and find resources in their communities.

With the release of this new website feature, 2-1-1 Connecticut seeks to help more Connecticut residents access the help and information they need.

“With more and more people seeking help and information through our website, we
recognize the importance of ensuring resources can be quickly found, saved and shared.
My 211 Account enables community providers, case workers and individuals to create
custom resource lists and care plans that can be saved, shared, implemented and
updated as needed,” said Richard Porth, President, United Way of Connecticut.

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United Way Seeks Volunteer Readers


HARTFORD — Learning to read at a young age is the most important predictor of time high school graduation, yet it can be a frustrating experience for some students. Just a little help goes a very long way.

Last year, 200 students enrolled in United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut’s Readers program and 95 percent of them improved their literacy skills. This year, more students in our community need you.

As a United Way Reader, you’ll help more students learn to read so they build the skills needed to do well in school and become successful adults. Each week, you and a student will work one-on-one. You’ll read together and do educational activities, helping them improve their overall reading skills, and gain confidence in sounding out words and vocabulary.

Learn more and hear Katrease share her experiences as a United Way Reader: www.unitedwayinc.org/UWReaders

Become a United Way Reader today! Signing up is easy:
• Visit unitedwayinc.org/read to sign up as a reader in Enfield, New Britain or Hartford
• Choose one day a week to volunteer for an hour from February-May 2016
• Attend an orientation prior to starting the program
• Show up each week at your assigned school to read with the same student

United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut is a proud leader in the local Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. This program is one way United Way and its partners help hard-working ALICE households succeed by ensuring their children learn to read by the fourth grade.
Learn more at unitedwayinc.org/ALICECT.

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Report: Nonprofits Becoming More Strategic


HARTFORD — Connecticut nonprofits are doing more with less. They’re also becoming more strategic in their spending decisions to remain competitive, according to the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut Eighth Annual Non-profit Pulse Survey, released in partnership with the Hartford Business Journal.

To operate more efficiently, nonprofits are restructuring staff, outsourcing IT and HR functions, advocating for government funding, and sharing services with other nonprofit organizations. More nonprofits also reported considering a merger within the last twelve months, and half have considered sharing services with another nonprofit, according to the report.

Despite continued economic uncertainties, two in three respondents report they are optimistic about the prospects for their organization in the coming year, compared to only 1 in 2 last year. Demand for services continues to rise, but not at the levels seen a few years ago at the start of the recession. One out of five respondents report adding new services for transportation and health care or coverage compared to food, clothing and material goods a year ago.

“It’s no mystery, nonprofits continue to face many challenges, yet we are still seeing an increase in optimism from those we surveyed,” said Susan Dunn, president and CEO of United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. “Of course there are still legitimate concerns, but most non-profits believe they can make real, sustainable change in our communities and are willing to go that extra distance to make the best use of the available resources.”

When asked an open-ended question regarding their biggest challenge, “money” continued as the most common answer, with “cuts in state funding” a close second. More than half of the nonprofits surveyed report they receive at least 50 percent of their funding from public grants or contracts, and they are advocating for their clients’ needs with legislators regarding budget decision-making. Despite these advocacy efforts, respondents are uncertain about funding from the public sector, yet are more optimistic about revenues from individuals and foundations or corporations. Many also indicated that while they are seeking to diversify funding sources, they do not have enough time to identify new funders.

United Way’s Nonprofit Pulse Survey annually looks at the trends in funding and needs for services. The online survey was sent to 366 nonprofit organizations and United Way partners providing health and human services in the 40-towns of central and northeastern Connecticut. For the full report, visit unitedwayinc.org/news.

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