YORKTOWN — In 2018, United Way of the Virginia Peninsula, along with its nonprofit, government, and corporate partners, set a goal to move 10% of households out of poverty by 2023.
According to United Way of the Virginia Peninsula, that target was set with a specific population in mind. After completing the first extensive community needs assessment in more than 20 years, a collective impact agenda, Pathways out of Poverty, was developed.
United Way and its partners primarily focus on a population of people who are working, but still financially vulnerable, which it calls Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) households. These households typically earn too much for most publicly-funded programs but are still one unexpected expense away from a financial crisis.
United Way of the Virginia Peninsula notes ALICE households often work multiple jobs, or jobs that require specialized training or certification, but lack sufficient savings to fall back on in times of need.
New data released in April by United for ALICE shows the Virginia Peninsula has seen a 9.7% decrease in households experiencing poverty or who are below the ALICE threshold.
“While we are just shy of achieving our goal, we have learned what works and how best to serve and support our community and ALICE,” says Charvalla West, United Way’s COO and Director of Community Impact. “Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the kindness we’ve seen has inspired us to realign and improve how we connect people to resources, and how together we can create collaborative solutions that break the cycles of poverty.”
While the success of Pathways out of Poverty and the collective work of United Way and its partners is to be celebrated, United Way of the Virginia Peninsula said with rising costs of housing, food, and childcare, ALICE households need support now more than ever.
“While we celebrate the kindness in our community that has led to this tremendous accomplishment, we know this isn’t the full picture and that needs on the Peninsula are just as great now, if not greater than they were at the outset,” says Steve Kast, president and CEO.
United Way is committed to fostering community partnerships, mobilizing resources, and
promoting kindness in order to break the cycles of poverty in our community, and said it will continue to rely on local kindness to address the most pressing needs on the Virginia Peninsula and to help lift ALICE households.