ROCKY HILL, Conn. (March 26, 2017) - Connecticut United Ways are partnering with a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization called EARN to bring a matched savings program to ALICE (
Employed) households in the State of Connecticut.
Two years ago, the United Ways across Connecticut released The ALICE Report, a statewide study of financial hardship conducted in partnership with Rutgers University. That report, and an update released in the fall of 2016, unveiled the ALICE population: individuals and families who are working hard, but have difficulty affording the basic necessities of housing, food, child care, health care, and transportation. Combined, ALICE and poverty households comprise 38% of all households in the state, revealing that more than 1 in 3 Connecticut households struggle to make ends meet.
Asset limited, is a defining characteristic of ALICE. Thirty-nine percent of Connecticut households lack the liquid assets necessary to survive a financial shock. This vulnerability means that a medical emergency or unexpected car repair has the potential to cripple an ALICE household. Community conversations held by United Ways across Connecticut with ALICE households echo this struggle.
Savings is a core component of financial health. A savings habit - and the stability it brings - is as important as income. Savings address financial instability by providing a way for families to save for short term emergencies and long term assets, like a college education or a home.
"Together, United Ways across the State are working to address the challenges that ALICE households face by building partnerships and funding initiatives aimed at helping thousands of ALICE households achieve financial security," said Richard Porth, President and CEO of United Way of Connecticut. "Connecticut United Ways invested more than $1.5 million in financial stability work that helps families in various ways including free tax preparation, managing their household budgets, building assets and repairing credit. This new partnership with EARN will help us further deliver on our commitment to support ALICE households."
EARN is a national nonprofit dedicated to helping people build savings that the Connecticut United Ways have partnered with to address this critical issue. This asset-building initiative will complement the great financial stability work that all United Ways across the State of Connecticut support in their local communities.
"We spent months researching programs and initiatives nationwide to identify the best asset-building program with the most flexibility for ALICE households," said Kim Morgan, CEO of United Way of Western Connecticut. "We were thrilled to find EARN and to bring their successful Starter Savings Program to Connecticut. We see this partnership growing and evolving over time."
The EARN Starter Savings Program is a six-month matched savings program in which individuals earning no more than 80% of the median household income in their region agree to save at least $20 per month and in return earn $10 in matched savings. At the end of program, they will have built up at least $180 worth of emergency savings. EARN reports that 80% of graduates from the Starter Savings Program continue to save beyond the six months of the program.