Advocating for ALICE: The Need
In Frederick today, at least 36% of all households struggle to afford basic household necessities, falling below the survival budget threshold, because the cost of living outpaces wage increases. Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) families are often forced to choose between paying for food, medical expenses, childcare, broadband access, healthcare, and rent.
The ALICE Report for Frederick County has changed the way that UWFC approaches community needs and words to solve them. The report provides critical information about how financial stability is spread across Frederick County demographics.
We welcome you to join us as we drive toward social justice by embracing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for every person in every community by supporting and advocating on behalf of ALICE families.
Our 2024 Initiatives
Read more about our 2024 Advocacy Platform Below or click here to download a PDF copy of the 2024 Advocacy Positions.
UWFC is concerned about massive cuts proposed in Maryland Department of Transportation's six-year spending plan. The plan includes a 40% decrease in operating assistance to Locally Operated Transit Systems like Frederick County Transit.
- Transportation is the critical link between home and work, health appointments, educational opportunities, and so many of a family's basic necessities.
- In Frederick County, approximately 28% of low-income families don't have access to private transportation, and 11% of those rely on taxi rides. While public transit remains free in Frederick County, a taxi trip can cost an ALICE worker up to 40% of a day's wages.
- ALICE employees are much more likely to hold on-site jobs like restaurant and warehouse workers, nurses, and teachers. If employees can't get to work, then they can't help make the business productive.
Such a significant cut to Transit will be borne disproportionately by ALICE households and those who do not own a private vehicle. Cuts to public transportation systems should be held as a last possible resort.
We support policies and legislation that provide ALICE families with access to high-speed internet, implementation of programs and partnerships to expand digital literacy and digital opportunities, and additional federal, state, and local governmental funding to completely eliminate the digital divide.
- Prior to a recent initiative between the State of Maryland, Frederick County, and UWFC to provide Frederick County residents with internet-enabled devices and access to the Affordable Connectivity Program, over 80% of recipients previously did not have a computer at home.
- While 81% of Frederick County residents have internet through their phone, it's difficult to fill out complicated forms required by many services, complete homework, and fill out job applications on mobile phones.
UWFC encourages local government to increase funding and investment to first-time homeownership funds and work with programs like UWFC's Pathway to Homeownership. With funds that have accumulated in the City of Frederick and Frederick County, there is a significant opportunity to provide affordable housing.
- With rents increasing by over 30% during the COVID-19 pandemic, ALICE families are more stressed than ever to put a roof over their heads.
- Homeownership provides families with an asset that can be passed down from generation to generation, but we know the goal of owning a home is out of reach for many ALICE individuals and families.
UWFC advocates for additional investments in financial stability programs throughout the county.
UWFC supports initiatives for those who have served, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, gender, disability status, etc.
- Veterans have been historically undercounted, indicating the need for more accurate data collection by the U.S. Census Bureau, including (but not limited to) people experiencing homelessness, people of color, individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, people in low-income and hard-to-count geographic areas.
We support legislation for ongoing and improved access to healthcare services and systems, including all immunizations for all ages, continued access to COVID vaccines, testing, and at-home test kits, and the development of new healthcare services and systems.
- With the onset of Mpox and other circulating diseases, new systems must also be developed to ensure that ALICE households have continued access to quality healthcare, immunizations, and health information at the same rate as their wealthier neighbors, regardless of their ability to pay.