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Char-Em United Way

Seaching for ALICE

United We Fight for families who struggle to make a livable wage in Northern Michigan.

We are fighting for ALICE. And you'll hear a lot more about ALICE in the coming months. ALICE stands Asset Limited, Income-Contingent, Employed. Char-Em United Way is currently searching for people and families in our community, who are ALICE, to share their story.

So who is ALICE, and why should we care?

Many people will recognize that even though a person or family might be above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), it does not mean they are not struggling financially. A new report from United Ways of Michigan tells the ALICE story.

There is a rather large gap in Michigan between the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and what is a livable wage. The ALICE Report found that 37% of of families in Emmet County and 39% of families in Charlevoix County could not afford basic needs. According to the report “Many households are living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but an even greater number of households are what UnitedWay calls ALICE” (p.1). 25% of families are ALICE, and 15% fall below the FPL. 1 in 4 families will not qualify for most aid programs, but do not make enough to cover the cost of living in Michigan.

The report found that a single person in Michigan needs to earn more than $18,192 to cover basic living expenses. And a family of four? $56,064. If you are doing the math, that’s a job that pays $28.04 per hour. The median incomes in both Charlevoix and Emmet Counties are less than the income needed for a family (Federal Census Data ).

What does this mean for us? ALICE or not.

Often ALICE families aren’t struggling right now, but are just one major incident away from financial troubles. We need to find ways to support and advocate for ALICE in our communities, to help our communities thrive.

For instance, we need affordable housing, affordable childcare, public transportation, to promote early childhood literacy, support our youth as they pursue post-secondary education (college, technical school, etc.), and more. United Way is here to fight for ALICE, but we can't do it alone.

United We Fight. Each of us has a role to play, whether it is to GIVE, ADVOCATE or VOLUNTEER.

Are you ALICE?

Does this describe you? Are you an individual making $18,000 or less a year? Are you a family of four making less than $56,000? We need to hear from YOU. In order to support ALICE, Char-EM United Way is creating a video about ALICE in our community. We are looking for people who are willing to be interviewed for a short video interview to share their story. If you do not want to go on camera, we still need to hear your stories. Call us and talk with someone in the office, or send us an email. 231-487-1006 or

What are your needs and concerns? Make your voice heard.

Would you have considered yourself ALICE before, but are now are above the ALICE threshold? We want your story.

If you are willing to share your story with us, please contact us for more information.

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