While United Ways have always known ALICE (an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), and have in fact been serving the ALICE population for decades, there was never a good measure to quantify just how many Pennsylvania households were struggling to make ends meet for their most basic needs. United Ways wanted to give this population a voice which is backed by data, to help us all understand the hardships ALICE is facing.

The ALICE Report for Pennsylvania describes the population called ALICE – working families with income above the Federal Poverty Level, but not high enough to afford basic household necessities. With the cost of living higher than what most people earn, ALICE households live in every county in Pennsylvania and they include women and men, young and old, of all races and ethnicities.

HARDSHIP IN CHESTER COUNTY

Although Chester County is the wealthiest county in Pennsylvania, there is still a poverty rate of 7%. The real need in our community becomes clearer when we consider there is an additional 20% rate of ALICE households. Coupled with those under the poverty line, more than 1 in 4 of Chester County residents are unable to make ends meet. The biggest impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been on the ALICE population.

OUR RESPONSE

United Way of Chester County is always working to help ALICE through our Community Impact & Innovation Fund and special initiative work:

Mobile Home Tax Reassessment
Mobile homes are the only form of property that require periodic assessment appeals to maintain equitable agreement to actual value. We have partnered with Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania and local food pantries to assist clients throughout the entire process. Each client has saved an average of $933.14 on their taxes. Our goal is to assist all mobile home owners in Chester County who may be in a similar situation. To learn more, click here.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program
We have expanded our partnership with Life Transforming Ministries (LTM) to help spread the reach of their VITA program. This program offers free tax preparation help to low and moderate-income households and also draws attention to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a federal credit that ranges from $503 to $6,242 depending upon household income and size.