ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and those living under the poverty line make up 42% of Kootenai County’s population–that is almost half of our community. The ALICE population are people who earn enough income to be above the Federal Poverty Line but do not earn enough to make a living wage. Because of this, they are usually one unexpected financial crisis away fr…om falling into poverty. They have to make sacrifices that are unhealthy for their family and our community.There are three primary issue areas that the ALICE population faces: child care, financial literacy, and transportation. Finding quality and affordable child care is very difficult for someone in the ALICE population. In today’s market, child care is more expensive than housing and food costs, sometimes combined. Those in the ALICE population are usually underbanked and have little to no savings. By providing financial literacy classes and teaching workplace soft skills, individuals in the ALICE population can gain knowledge of how to move up in the workplace and invest and save sustainably. Transportation is vital for going to and from work, taking the kids to child care, and other required uses. However, vehicle maintenance costs are expensive. If individuals are unable to maintain their vehicle because of financial issues, it can result is being late to work or an inability to go to work entirely.
Sectors from all parts of the community have joined in the conversation of how to best help and support the ALICE population. However, the churches are lacking in involvement. Churches have a unique ability to help the ALICE population. There are ALICE members in our congregations, more than one might expect, and they are active members of our faith communities. It is time we join together in the discussion of how we can best support ALICE families and individuals in our pews.
What is “ALICE in Our Pews”?
“ALICE in Our Pews” is an effort generated by First Presbyterian Church in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to gather information about what churches and faith-based organizations are already doing in the community to serve the ALICE population and enter into inter-church dialogue to discuss solutions for gaps where ALICE needs are unmet. As the body of Christ, we are stronger when we are united. You can help by liking this page, sharing it with you friends, attending one of our events, and continuing the ALICE conversation in your churches and communities.