A New Perspective on Poverty

The newly established goal of the Bold Goals Coalition’s Financial Services Network (FSN) is to help 2,500 people in Central Alabama achieve financial stability by 2025. To accomplish this, members of the FSN are preparing for the launch of a pilot program that will digitally link network partners and dramatically enhance their collective ability to help individuals and families struggling with financial instability.

No one organization has the capacity to meet the needs of our entire community. For that reason, the FSN pilot program, scheduled to start in July, is aimed at even greater collaboration and information sharing among network partners than ever before. It will not only improve the way they communicate with each other, but will also give current and prospective clients easy access to the many resources available through the network.

This pilot program will be especially significant in light of The United Way ALICE Project, a national study recently directed and released by a group of United Ways in 18 states. The term ALICE is an acronym for families who are “Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained and Employed.” They have earnings that push them above the technical definition of poverty, but that income is still less than what it takes to be financially stable in today’s economy.

Based on the results of this study, there are 158,698 ALICE households in Central Alabama that cannot afford a basic monthly budget for necessities, such as housing, food, childcare, healthcare and transportation. These households make up a staggering 38.3 percent of the 414,060 households in Central Alabama. To look at individual state results, click here for an interactive map.

ALICE represents the nation’s childcare workers, home health aides, store clerks and millions of other men and women who work at low-paying jobs, have little or no savings and are just one emergency away from poverty. The economic challenges of these vital members of our workforce are often overlooked because they have jobs. But the issues they face are very real and threatening to their financial stability.

Members of the Bold Goals FSN are working to help ensure that ALICE families, as well as others who are struggling to make ends meet, receive the help they need. Next month’s launch of our pilot program will be a major step toward addressing systemic poverty in our community.

FSN Partners: Birmingham Urban League, Gateway, Habitat for Humanity Greater Birmingham, Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (¡HICA!), Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity (JCCEO), Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham, The Salvation Army of Greater Birmingham and United Way of Central Alabama.