We know that the cost of living in Frederick County can be a stretch for even working families. Many of the people in this county worry that they are one emergency away from financial disaster. The United Way has come up with a way of determining a basic household survival budget for what it costs to meet basic needs to live in Frederick County. Those who make less than this threshold level of income are identified as “ALICE households.” ALICE is an acronym that stands for Asset, Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. The ALICE budget varies with household size.
ALICE families have income above the Federal Poverty Line, but not enough to afford a basic household budget that includes housing, child care, food, transportation, and healthcare. ALICE households live in every community in Frederick County — downtown City of Frederick, Urbana, Brunswick, Emmitsburg, in cities, farmlands, and mountains — and include women and men, young and old, and all races and ethnicities. There are many people living in Frederick County are just not making enough to afford even the basics.
Here are a few of the findings:
- In Frederick County, 39% of all households fall below the income ALICE level income level.
- The percentage of households that fall below the ALICE threshold has been going up since 2010 when the United Way began compiling these reports. In 2014 it was 34%, in 2012 it was 33% and in 2010 it was 32%.
- The type of household that is most likely to fall under the ALICE threshold are those with children with only one parent.
- By age group, those who are under 25 years of age and those over 65 years of age are most likely to fall under the ALICE threshold
- ALICE households are much more common in some municipalities than others. Emmitsburg, Libertytown, Sabillasville, and Thurmont have 55% or more of the households under the ALICE threshold and Urbana, Monrovia, and Middletown have less than 24%. In the City of Frederick, it is 51%.
- You can find the complete study on the United Way of Frederick County website.www.unitedwayfrederick.org/alice
The ALICE report provides a fact-based understanding of the challenges many families and individuals are facing. When we recognize the neighbor in need, we can love that neighbor in practical ways. Our participation in The Religious Coalition of Emergency Human Need, 2nd Street and Hope, The Lord’s Laundry, and other organizations can go a long way towards meeting these needs. This is also why we are holding a WEEKEND OF CARING. But whenever we open our eyes to see the people around us, we can go on to share the love of Christ with those we meet.
This is what it means to follow Jesus Christ.