Hartford, Conn. (Feb. 22, 2021) — United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut has awarded $20,000 to the Town of Bloomfield to establish the Bloomfield Community Assistance Fund to help residents achieve financial security.
In Bloomfield, 29 percent of households were identified as struggling to afford basic necessities, according to the 2020 Connecticut United Ways ALICE Report. Given the economic and health effects of COVID-19, it’s anticipated more households are financially challenged.
ALICE is an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed and represents the growing number of households in Connecticut with earnings above the Federal Poverty Level but below a basic cost of living threshold. Despite working hard, these households live paycheck to paycheck and are unable to afford basic necessities such as housing, food, child care, transportation, technology and healthcare.
The award marks the conclusion of United Way’s ALICE Challenge, a year-long community problem-solving effort where Bloomfield residents, town officials, led by Mayor Suzette DeBeatham-Brown, Town of Bloomfield, and business owners identified how best to accelerate families achieving financial security. In community meetings, facilitated by United Way staff and volunteers, members identified key barriers as lack of awareness and underutilization of local resources, the need to provide multi-lingual and/or multi-cultural formats to reflect the town’s diverse population, and eliminating the stigma of asking for assistance.
The solution the group developed is two-pronged: increased communications and marketing of available resources for ALICE households and establishing the Bloomfield Community Assistance Fund for things such as housing assistance, afterschool and camp scholarships, transportation, and other basic needs supports.
“Respecting the lived experiences of ALICE households is central to the ALICE Challenge,” said Paula S. Gilberto, President and CEO, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut. “We were honored to facilitate inclusive conversations with residents, businesses and town and the community leaders. Bringing people, organizations and resources together to develop meaningful, innovative ways to meet the needs of children, adults and families is the mission of United Way.”
The ALICE Challenge was first launched in Wethersfield in 2018, recognizing increases in the proportion of ALICE households in recent years. United Way facilitated the community conversations and awarded $20,000 to implement the group’s solution of creating a parent ambassadors program to create greater awareness of or access to resources.
“The Connecticut United Ways ALICE Report served as a call to action for our town as it revealed the number of households that despite working hard, are unable to afford life’s basic needs,” said Mayor DeBeatham-Brown. “I was committed to this process knowing that we could make a difference with the help of our community partners. It was an inspiration and encouragement of what community looked like. Thank you to United Way, our staff and community partners.”
About United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut
United Way brings people and resources together to address immediate needs and finds long-term solutions to challenging problems. United Way does this by investing in programs and services, leading community change initiatives, and mobilizing resources and volunteers to ensure that: children succeed in school; people get jobs and are financially secure; people are healthy; and, basic needs are met during tough times. For more information, visit www.unitedwayinc.org.