Many people across the state of Michigan have jobs, but while people are working hard some still struggle to make ends meet. These people must make hard choices between transportation, health care, rent, or food. Ottawa County United Way is meeting people part of the way so they don't have to choose between their basic needs thanks to the ALICE Project.
ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, and represents those in the community who are working, yet still struggling to make ends meet.
Households across Michigan, comprised of all races, genders, and ages, cannot afford the basics - housing, child care, food, health care and transportation. When households face difficult economic conditions and cannot afford basic necessities, they are forced to make difficult choices and take risks that have consequences for their households and their communities.
United Way's in Michigan have come together to release the ALICE Report because recognizing the magnitude of the number of households facing financial hardship, as well as the different types of households and problems they confront, will make more effective change possible.
To help others understand ALICE, the United Way has created a Making Ends Meet Challenge, an online simulation where the user tries to survive the lifestyle of a person struggling to make ends meet for a month. Simulations are of a single person, a single parent, or a small family. Each person starts with a certain amount of money, then the user has to make spending choices and make it through 30 days in their shoes.
Another initiative the United Way has launched is the 21-Day Equity Challenge. The United Way ALICE Report illustrates the inequities that are deeply rooted in the national, state, and local systems and institutions. Over the 21-day Challenge, people will take a self-guided learning journey that examines the history and impacts of racism and how it shapes people’s lived experience in Ottawa County.
By participating in the challenge, people commit to deepening their understanding of, and willingness to confront racism for twenty-one consecutive days. The Challenge will raise awareness, change understanding, and shift the way they behave.
To learn more about these initiatives, visit ottawaunitedway.org.