**FILE** Courtesy of unitedwaynca.org
**FILE** Courtesy of unitedwaynca.org

On average, in the DMV region, less than half of our households earn above the Federal Poverty Level yet are not eligible for assistance and cannot afford the basic household necessities such as housing, childcare, food, transportation, health care, and even a basic smartphone plan. These three characteristics are causing these households to struggle from paycheck to paycheck or, worse, in the red line of debt with little opportunity to advance beyond it.

Your United Way of the National Capital Area (NCA) identifies these households as ALICE (Asset, Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) populations. They are working households trapped in systemic inequities. For example, 55% of households in D.C. cannot afford essentials.

United Way NCA conducts ALICE reports every two years and uses the data to analyze the real cost of living as a way to identify the need for innovative and comprehensive solutions to attain equity for all in the areas of health, education and economic opportunity. 

We also collaborate with community partners to ensure we respond to immediate needs. For example, we’ve been working with Rev. David Street, a health navigator with our community church partner, Mt. Sinai Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. He shared, “What I appreciate about United Way NCA is how we worked together as thought partners to co-create a program that addresses the impact of COVID and the need for accessibility to testing, vaccination and health clinics.”

Another example is Project Community Connect (PCC), an event that provides equitable access to resources needed by ALICE populations and for those at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

At the eighth annual PCC this year from Oct. 3-8, United Way NCA and its partners will host three regional pop-up events. Locations include Prince George’s Community College (10/3), Kelly Miller Middle School in Washington, D.C. (10/6), and Francis C. Hammond Middle School in Alexandria, Va., (10/8). The events will feature in-person resource fairs offering much-needed services such as medical screenings, including COVID-19 testing/vaccinations, rental and utility assistance, workforce resources and opportunities, legal services and counseling, clothing and food distribution, and more.

United Way NCA will also be working with its regional partners to deliver more than 4,500 kits of basic needs items throughout the week to community members, including general hygiene, feminine hygiene, healthy snacks and warm clothing kits.

PCC has served more than 1,500 participants, to date. United Way NCA will continue to look for innovation to touch the lives of those in need. We invite you to join us as we advance toward equity for all people across the Greater Washington, D.C., metro area. We strongly believe that when none are ignored, all will thrive.

For more information on Project Community Connect, please visit https://unitedwaynca.org/pcc.

Rosie Allen-Herring is president and CEO of United Way of the National Capital Area.

Did you like this story?
Would you like to receive articles like this in your inbox? Free!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *