THE ALICE® INITIATIVE

Many individuals and families who have a job—even two or three—are doing everything they can to make ends meet yet struggle to get by each month. ALICE represents the growing number of households who are above the Federal Poverty Line, do not qualify for many government assistance programs, and who are working yet cannot afford basic necessities to remain stable and self-sufficient.

ASSET LIMITED

ALICE has no safety net for emergencies

INCOME CONSTRAINED

ALICE's income falls short of basic necessities

EMPLOYED

ALICE is working, but can't afford the cost of living
 

Meet the Faces of ALICE

The experiences of 30 random individuals from all walks of life illustrate the wide-reaching impacts of financial hardship in Hawai‛i:

Nearly half of Hawai‛i's residents are struggling, with 33% identified as ALICE and 9% living in poverty (2020 Alice in Hawaii Report).

Every day, on every island, and represented among every ethnicity, local households are faced with tough financial decisions and challenges. ALICE households are our neighbors, ohana, work colleages, and friends. With high inflation, the rising cost of living, and stagnant wage growth—further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic—unprecedented strain has been placed on Hawai‛i's households.

Little support is in place to prevent ALICE from slipping into poverty or for advancing. It takes just one crisis—such as loss of employment for a short period of time, an unexpected health emergency or car repair, an increase in monthly rent—to put these individuals and families at even greater risk of long-term problems like chronic health issues and loss of housing.

2023 ALICE in Crosscurrents report

 

 


Our Role

Aloha United Way leads the ALICE Initiative in Hawai‛i–a comprehensive strategy for generating awareness and understanding around what ALICE households face and driving long-term, systemic change that results in greater financial stability.

Representing Hawai‛i in the national United for ALICE movement, Aloha United Way:

  • Provides the organization, funding, and infrastructure to provide Hawai‛i with statewide ALICE data in the form of ALICE Reports and ALICE Dashboards.
  • Established the AUW ALICE Fund. Provides grant funding for non-profit organizations that positively impact ALICE households by devising innovative programs and services.
  • Convenes community stakeholders around ALICE. From policymakers and business leaders to non-profit organizations and media outlets, AUW brings people together to create maximum social and economic impact.

“Aloha United Way is a leader in the ALICE movement–boldly inspiring an era of change in Hawai‛i. Across the state community members, foundations, legislators and businesses are working together, building out a wide range of solutions to help its ALICE workers and families become financially stable.”

Stephanie Hoopes, PhD | National Director of United For ALICE


The AUW ALICE® Fund

Established in 2018, the AUW ALICE Fund is a dedicated funding source specifically designed to foster creative solutions, pilot programs, and non-profit innovation. The fund is supported by corporate sponsors, foundations, and individual donations.

The AUW ALICE Fund fuels change, innovation and collective action around core issues that no agency or government entity can address alone. It is not a grant–it is a movement that calls for shared goals, metrics, tools, and an unprecedented amount of coordination.

2022-2024 ALICE Cohort

Aloha United Way has partnered with Hawaii Community Foundation to fund the 2022-2024 ALICE Cohort. Over a three-year cycle, cohort members are collectively working to develop and implement impactful and scalable programs that help O‛ahu’s ALICE households. This is the second grant cycle that’s been funded–followed by the inaugural 2019-2021 ALICE Cohort.

The cohort works in two specific areas:

●      Increasing access to safe and affordable housing

●      Facilitating greater financial stability and increasing savings

Not a cohort member? You can still participate in ALICE work! Community members, business leaders, policymakers, and even ALICE households themselves are encouraged to join the movement. Contact us to learn how you can get involved.

ALICE Reports

ALICE in Hawaiʻi: 2024 Update

The 2024 update of the ALICE report sheds light on the most up-to-date challenges for ALICE families in Hawaiʻi and provides critical insights into the financial stability of local working families. By exploring updated survival budgets, the impacts of tax credits, and the unique struggles of specific communities like Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, this report calls for targeted actions to ensure economic stability and growth for all.

For a summary of our biggest takeaways from this 2024 ALICE update, read: Financial Stability in Hawai‘i: Understanding the 2024 ALICE Data Update

ALICE in Hawai‛i: 2022 Facts and Figures

ALICE data shapes the narrative of financial hardship in Hawai‛i, helping us advocate for policy changes that uplift ALICE households. Non-profits, community organizations, and policymakers are encouraged to explore the reports and utilize the data in their own work and initiatives.

Aloha United Way, with generous financial support from the Bank of Hawai‘i Foundation and in partnership with the Financial Health Network and United For ALICE, presents a comprehensive study that offers a current financial snapshot of Hawai‘i’s households. This research is intended to meet the great need for current data that reflects the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and where Hawai‘i is now.
 
In this study, we find more Hawai‘i households have fallen below the ALICE Threshold, with an alarming increase in households now in poverty, from 9% in 2019 to 15% in 2022.
 
Households who before the pandemic were already impacted by rising costs, lack of affordable housing, living wages, and childcare were the most vulnerable during the pandemic. This report shows that the impacts of the pandemic and inflation continue to plague households today. The impacts have hit households unevenly and the report reveals key takeaways. Residents are doing more than ever to try to get by, yet many will not be able to overcome these ongoing challenges on their own. 
 
Only 56% of Hawaiʻi’s households are above the ALICE Threshold — with enough income to cover the basics. Download the full report and learn how you can help our community change Hawaiʻi’s current course.
 
ALICE in the Crosscurrents: COVID and Financial Hardship in Hawai'i (Released 2023, based on 2021 American Community Survey data)
 
This report is focused on the state of ALICE Households in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and provides the first Household Survival Budget update since the report released on 2020. While the Federal Poverty Level increased 3% between 2019 and 2021, a family of four experienced an 18% increase in the Household Survival Budget or basic cost of essentials. During the same period, a single adultʻs Household Survival Budget increased 26%. When combined with the 2022 Facts & Figures report, a path forward begins to emerge. As a community, we must not only work to increase wages, but also do everything possible to lower household costs. The latest reports will be used in tandem to inform ALICE Cohort and ALICE Initiative efforts moving forward, including significant advocacy work supporting targeted and effective tax credits. 

County-Specific ALICE Data

ALICE Households exist across the state and the challenges faced aren't isolated to O‛ahu. Individuals on every island, within every community, have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cost of living in Hawai‛i. Developing new support systems and policies that help ALICE households overcome this financial and mental health crisis will require unprecedented, statewide collaboration.

December 15, 2022 Webinar

Understand and take a deeper dive into the data from the ALICE in Hawai‛i: 2022 Facts and Figures report. Download the slide deck from this presentation.

December 6, 2022 Press Conference
 

Research from our Partners

Survey questions for the ALICE in Hawai‛i: 2022 Facts and Figures report were guided by the Hawaii Financial Health Pulse: 2019 Survey Results – a 2019 study that assessed respondents’ financial health and wellbeing.

Previous Reports


Our Impact

From 2019-2021, hundreds of individuals received job training, financial literacy training, and are achieving financial stability thanks to ALICE Initiative work and AUW’s partner agencies.

Programs developed by the Cohort provided:

  • Loan capital for small businesses
  • Pathways to affordable home ownership
  • Education for increasing earning potential
  • Legal support and employment for kūpuna

In addition, ALICE Policy Hui mobilized nearly 8,000 actions (testimony, letters, etc.) on ALICE priority issues resulting in landmark legislative victories including raising the minimum wage and establishing a permanent and refundable earned income tax credit in 2022.

Current (2023) advocacy work supports increasing earned income tax credit impact and eligibility. The recently passed package of credits, which pulled from two bills proposed by Governor Green as well as the House Majority Bill provide an update to the refundable food/excise tax credit, expand the state’s refundable Earned Income Tax Credit to 40% of the federal credit, expand rental assistance for kūpuna and expand accredited daycare options that will allow more parents to return to work.


Interactive Tools and Resources

Hawaiʻi State ALICE Overview - Learn more about the ALICE population in Hawaiʻi.

Economic Viability Dashboard - Explore data on work, housing, and community resources for households below the ALICE Threshold by location and race/ethnicity.

Legislative District Tool - An interactive tool that helps policymakers and community stakeholders better understand how many ALICE households are actually struggling in their district.

ALICE Wage Tool: Explore how wage levels impact an ALICE household's ability to afford basic expenses.

ALICE in Focus: Children Data Dashboard: Explore data on children in financial hardship by category, including age, race/ethnicity, nativity, disability status, living arrangements, and other parameters.

ALICE in Focus: People with Disabilities Data Dashboard: Explore data on people with disabilities in financial hardship by category, including age, race/ethnicity, nativity, disability status, living arrangements, and other parameters.

ALICE in Focus: Veterans Data Dashboard: Explore housing status, medical coverage, disability status, age, and ethnic data by state.

CLIFF Dashboard: Create a customized career path for overcoming "benefits cliffs”—low-income barriers that prevent households from advancing economic well-being.

211 Statewide Resource Helpline: Find resources and programs across the state by connecting with a 211 helpline specialist or searching the online database.


ALICE Initiative Sponsors

ALICE Initiative Sponsors 2023