On average, in the DMV region, less than half of our households earn above the Federal Poverty Level yet are not eligible for assistance and cannot afford the basic household necessities such as housing, childcare, food, transportation, health care, and even a basic smartphone plan. These three characteristics are causing these households to struggle from paycheck to paycheck, or worse, in the red line of debt with little opportunity to advance beyond it.
Your United Way of the National Capital Area (NCA) identifies these households as ALICE (Asset, Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) populations. They are working households trapped in systemic inequities. For example, 39 percent of households in Virginia cannot afford essentials.
United Way NCA conducts ALICE reports every two years and uses the data to analyze the real cost of living as a way to identify the need for innovative and comprehensive solutions to attain equity for all in the areas of health, education and economic opportunity. For example, our community schools program focuses on meeting ALICE students and families where they are at, focusing on the middle school to college and/or career success pipeline. According to Madelyn Giblin, Site Director, Communities in Schools of NOVA, “United Way NCA is a wonderful partner. They're constantly looking for ways to support our work through their education pillar and empower the work that we're doing by connecting us to resources. Sometimes that means bringing community partners in to support school supply drives or through Project Community Connect.”
Project Community Connect (PCC) is an event that provides equitable access to resources needed by ALICE populations and for those at risk of or experiencing homelessness. At this year’s 8th annual PCC, October 3-8, 2022, United Way NCA and its partners will host three regional pop-up events. Locations include Prince George’s Community College (10/3), Kelly Miller Middle School in Washington DC (10/6), and Francis C. Hammond Middle School in Alexandria, VA (10/8). The events will feature in-person resource fairs offering much-needed services such as medical screenings, including COVID testing/vaccinations; rental and utility assistance; workforce resources and opportunities; legal services and counseling, clothing and food distribution, and more.
United Way NCA will also be working with its regional partners to deliver more than 4,500 kits of basic needs items throughout the week to community members, including general hygiene, feminine hygiene, healthy snacks and warm clothing kits.
PCC has served more than 1,500 participants, to date. United Way NCA will continue to look for innovation to touch the lives of those in need. We invite you to join us as we advance toward equity for all people across the DMV. We strongly believe that when none are ignored, all will thrive.
For more information on Project Community Connect, please visit https://unitedwaynca.org/pcc.
Rosie Allen-Herring is the President and CEO of United Way of the National Capital Area.