New United Way report: 25% of Middlesex County households struggling

MIDDLETOWN — While it may not be news that United Way works with numerous local organizations and businesses to help out members of our community, many do not know how we research what population needs this help or where our community stands economically.
Earlier this year, Connecticut United Ways released the fourth edition of the ALICE Report, a study on financial hardship. To discuss and highlight the findings, Connecticut United Ways are coming together for a four-part, virtual town hall series revealing major trends in the 2020 report.
ALICE is an acronym that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. This population is often overlooked, because, even though the households have some income, they are especially vulnerable to homelessness and financial insecurity. The first topic being discussed in this series is access to child care.
The new report concludes that before the onset of the pandemic, 38 percent of Connecticut’s households lacked the income to pay for necessities such as housing, food, child care, health care, technology and transportation. It goes without saying that this pandemic has certainly not made things any easier.
In Middlesex County, 14,778 households fall under the ALICE criteria, approximately 25 percent of all Middlesex County households.
The updated report documents the challenges facing ALICE families throughout our state and identifies trends that affect their ability to achieve financial security.
The report further demonstrates the now exacerbated economic vulnerability of many Connecticut residents, who, in addition to dealing with longstanding financial challenges, are now also struggling with furloughs, job losses, and an inability to pay bills and provide for their families.
On Nov. 19 at 5:30 p.m., please join us for the first town hall in our four-part series focusing on access to child care, a topic many parents, educators and caretakers can relate to in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moderating the panel is Melissa Stanley, Boys & Girls Club in Stamford; and panelists, including Beth Bye, Office of Early Childhood Education; Emily Byrne, Voices for Children; and, Kimberly Martini-Carvell, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
Some topics covered include understanding that access to child care is a larger issue outside of COVID-19. Many parents are experiencing this now for the first time, but ALICE had already been experiencing a lack of access to quality, affordable child care before the pandemic.
Some questions addressed will include how are we addressing child care issues? Where is child care unavailable? Why is access to quality, affordable child care so important? What does it mean for our community’s health and well-being?
We encourage anyone facing these challenges, as well as others in the community looking to find out more about these challenges our neighbors are facing, to attend. To register, visit or text 2020ALICE to 41444Middlesex.
Middlesex United Way, as well as all other United Ways, are committed to helping members of our community work through obstacles they are facing, and we hope that these events will help people learn a bit more of the vital work we are doing.
Kevin Wilhelm is president and CEO of the Middlesex United Way in Middletown.