ALICE Multi-State Comparison Analyzes Data from 13 States 
A Message from Richard Porth          
President/CEO of United Way of Connecticut  

The 2016 Connecticut ALICE Update Report, revealed that 27 percent of households in Connecticut have earnings above the federal poverty level but below what it costs to afford basic necessities such as housing, food, child care, health care and transportation. When combined with the 11 percent of households living in poverty; more than 1 in 3 (38 percent) of Connecticut households are struggling to get by. A new United Way Report, 2016 ALICE Multi-State Comparison, compares data across 13 states: Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin, and analyzes trends effecting ALICE across the nation. Of the 38 million households studied across 13 states, 40 percent were living below the ALICE threshold.

The ALICE Multi State Comparison reinforces many of the findings in the Connecticut ALICE Report including:
  • The ALICE population includes men and women, both young and old and of all races and ethnicities.
  • Connecticut has the highest Household Survival Budget (i.e. cost of living) at $22,565 for a single adult and $70,788 for a family of four (two adults, one infant and one toddler).
  • Connecticut has the highest proportion of jobs paying $20 per hour or more. 
  • The cost of housing and child care (for families with two children in child care) are the biggest expenses for ALICE households.
For more information on the ALICE Report and to learn more about helping ALICE visit: http://alice.ctunitedway.org/.

File Your Taxes for Free at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Site or Online Using My Free Taxes 
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax preparation services to individuals and families with a total household income at or below $54,000 in 2016. The program recruits and trains volunteers who help taxpayers prepare and file their tax forms at VITA sites located throughout the state.
Last tax season more than 50,000 Connecticut workers filed their taxes for free and IRS certified volunteers helped hard working families and individuals claim refunds and tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) , Child Tax Credit and Child and Dependent Tax Credit .
It is estimated that almost 25% of qualifying households do not claim the EITC on their returns. United Way 2-1-1 Connecticut, in collaboration with Connecticut United Ways and community partners, is committed to connecting hard working people with free tax preparation services in their communities that can help them secure tax credits they are eligible for. Click HERE to locate a VITA site near you and to learn more about the VITA program.
Would you rather file your tax return online? If you earned $64,000 or less in 2016, visit www.myfreetaxes.com  and get started. This step by step, online tax filing program uses the same tax filing software as H&R Block. My Free Taxes is a service of United Way World Wide and allows individuals to file for free on a computer, tablet or smartphone and provides a helpline (1-855-698-9435), available 6 days a week, to answers questions.

Partnership For Strong Communities Kick Off Their Annual IForum Series
On Monday, January 30, 2017, the Partnership for Strong Communities will kick off its annual IForum series with a presentation on the impact local zoning commissions have on the vitality of our communities. "Zoning: How Local Decisions Shape Our Communities' Future. " The IForum will feature a panel discussion and presentations from: Commissioner Evonne Klein, Connecticut Department of Housing, Rick Porth, CEO United Way of Connecticut, and Carl Fortuna, Town of Old Saybrook First Selectman.
The forum will be held at The Lyceum, 227 Lawrence Street, Hartford, CT and take place from 8:30-11:30am. To learn more click HERE.

United Healthcare Children's Foundation Grant Opportunity
United Healthcare Children's Foundation is offering families with a child 16 years or younger, living in the United States and facing a health-related challenge up to $10,000 (max $5,000 per year) to help pay for the cost of treatment or medical equipment. If your child's health insurance does not cover the full cost of their medical needs you may be eligible for a grant to help offset the cost of your medical bills.
If you need helping paying for, medical treatment and services such as: physical, occupational and speech therapies, surgeries, counseling, prescription medications; or medical equipment including: wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses, hearing aids, visit www.uhccg.org  or click HERE to learn more about this grant opportunity and how to apply.