For the United Way of SE Idaho our “WHY” starts with ALICE. We fight for policies that improve the lives of ALICE families. The United Way of SE Idaho is positioned to educate the community on current conditions in the community in the areas of education, health, and financial stability.
Who is ALICE? We all know ALICE – ALICE workers educate our children, keep us healthy, bag our groceries, deliver essential services, yet do not make enough to support their own families in a sustainable way. In order to better understand this growing population, United For ALICE provides a framework, language, statistics, and tools that community stakeholders can use to inform policy and drive innovation.
The new ALICE data shows that for a household of two adults and two children in childcare, they would need to have gross earnings of $5,020 per month combined or an annual household income of $60,240 in order to just get by. Currently, 42% of SE Idaho households are below the ALICE threshold.
While the COVID-19 crisis has certainly affected a huge number of households – disproportionately ALICE households—this latest ALICE report doesn’t explicitly include those impacts. However, the data does give us a very good sense of where our community baseline was prior to the COVID-19 crisis, which has only worsened the financial situation of many.
The latest ALICE report gives us a framework and data set from which to build our community’s COVID-19 Recovery plan in a way that is more robust and equitable for all and allows us to reimagine the ways in which our community meets the needs of the most vulnerable households in SE Idaho.
United Way of SE Idaho 2018-2019 Community Assessment
Our 2018-19 Community Assessment serves as a snapshot of conditions in our community in the areas of financial stability, health, and education. This is a valuable tool for partners to: Identify critical regional needs, commit to taking collaborative action, prioritize projects and programs, and use as a resource for grant writing, etc. The assessment highlights areas of opportunity for dedicated partners to work together to create healthy change for all of SE Idaho.
Poverty rates are important measures of how communities are doing financially. However, the federal poverty line is so low that it does not capture everyone struggling. United Way is committed to helping the needs of Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) households.
These community members earn enough money to be above the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough to afford a basic household budget of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, taxes, and minor miscellaneous expenses. In Southeastern Idaho 44% of households are financially insecure.
Historically, Idaho school funding has been ranked among the lowest in the nation. Currently, Idaho is the second-lowest in total per-pupil spending. Additionally, Idaho is one of only four states that do not fund pre-K opportunities, nor is Kindergarten of any kind required. Considering the links between early learning, poverty, and health, there is reason to be concerned about the educational foundation children have in Idaho.
This is the basis for UWSEI serving as the backbone organization for local Cradle to Career efforts, known as imPACT East Idaho. Success during the early portion of a person’s lifespan is linked to increased quality of life that make lasting impacts for individuals as well as generations of families. Increased life-long earning potential, better health (due to increased access to quality healthcare), more money going back into communities through taxes, and decreased involvement with the criminal justice system are all correlated with a child’s early success. Across the board, kids from lower-income households are struggling to keep up with their higher-income peers.
Just as education and household finances are closely linked, health is closely connected to each of these conditions. Poorer households tend to have poorer health. More educated adults tend to have healthier families because they tend to have the means to afford health care. Kids who chronically miss school due to illness are not as likely to succeed. And dental health is, perhaps surprisingly, strongly linked to overall health and success.
We would love to present to your company, civic organization, or group to help provide education on community issues relevant to our mission. We currently do presentations on the following topics:
- A.L.I.C.E. in SE Idaho
- Community Conversations on our Community Assessment.