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How the cost of housing impacts many Connecticut families

Do you know ALICE?
Twenty-five percent of Connecticut households have earnings that exceed the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) but fall short of a basic cost of living threshold. This threshold is a measure of the amount of income required to pay for the essential costs of living included in a Household Survival Budget.

We call these households ALICE - an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. Together with the 10% of Connecticut households in poverty, more than one-third of Connecticut households (35%) struggle to get by. ALICE households represent a cross-section of the population that includes all races, ethnicities, ages, and people from every city and town in Connecticut.

In this ALICE Update on housing, we use data compiled by the Partnership for Strong Communities to explore some of the biggest housing challenges facing Connecticut ALICE families.

  1. Housing is a universal need, and affordable options for ALICE families are limited. Throughout much of Connecticut, the cost of available housing is too high relative to the actual incomes of ALICE households.
  2. Half of all renters and more than a third of all homeowners in Connecticut - many who are ALICE families - are burdened by their housing costs. They are spending more than 30% of their income on housing, which makes it difficult to pay for other necessities.
  3. When households are overburdened by housing costs, they are faced with making tough choices, including living in substandard housing, moving farther away from their job, and even falling into homelessness.
  4. The supply of affordable housing in Connecticut is growing, but the need is still great. Although Connecticut ALICE families benefit from the unprecedented creation of 7,500 affordable homes since 2011, spurred on by the state government, there is still a significant need for affordable housing choices.

When ALICE families encounter an unforeseen problem, such as home repairs, the need for a new furnace or appliance, an unexpected illness, or car trouble, it can trigger a real financial crisis. United Way of Southeastern Connecticut allocates funding to engage community leaders in strategies that can help with emergency heating assistance, avert homelessness, provide food and other basic needs, discounts on prescription medications, and more.

As ALICE struggles to stay afloat, United Way partner programs and initiatives can help fill the gap in needs from month-to-month, preventing ALICE from falling into poverty.

Read more at or explore housing data for every Connecticut city and town at the Partnership for Strong Communities website. Click here to read more about the ALICE Report.