people working low-wage jobs


When Working Isn't Enough to Make It Work

Many households in York County struggle to cover basic living expenses. Financial stability is just out of reach even though they work full-time. These households are ALICE- Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

ALICE- Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed


ALICE represents people of all ages who earn more than the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but make less than what's needed to afford basic essentials. ALICE often earns too much to qualify for government assistance, but still isn't able to make ends meet. They are one financial emergency away from falling into poverty. They live in the gap between the social safety net of government programs and financial stability.

These working folks are essential to our community. They keep us running. Without them, York County would come grinding to a halt. They are our childcare workers, teaching assistants, and support staff. They work in hospitals and grocery stores. Their over-stretched budgets cannot keep pace with the skyrocketing inflation. 

Household Survival Budget

ALICE Household Survival Budget is an estimate of the minimal total cost of household essentials. Household essentials include housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology, plus taxes and a miscellaneous contingency fund equal to 10% of the budget.

It does not include savings, auto repairs, cable service, travel, laundry costs, or amenities such as holiday gifts or dinner at a restaurant.

The survival budget illustrates just how far off the Federal Poverty Line has moved from the actual cost of living. The ALICE Survival Budget seeks to set a more reasonable minimum for the cost of living. It is still a no-frills budget. For example below, you can see that in York County, the Survival Budget only includes $1,024 for housing for a family of four.

We want to move households from the Survival Budget to Financial Stability.

Household Survival Budget for a Family of 4


In York County, 1 in 4 households are ALICE. That's 46,000 hard-working households in York County, Pennsylvania. These are our neighbors and friends. These households need our help to move from the edge of financial catastrophe to financial stability.

Making Tough Choices

ALICE is not simply a wage issue. It is an accessibility issue. There are barriers to financial stability that ALICE households consistently face. They are complex and interconnected. For example, you can’t take the high-pay manufacturing position in Hanover because you have no car to get there and we don’t have buses that go that far. Or, you work third shift and are not able to find overnight childcare. Or you work at multiple restaurants as a server that don’t offer healthcare but need an inhaler for your asthma. 

For solutions to be effective, they must also be interconnected and comprehensive. 

Barriers to financial stability

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