Why More Companies Need to do their Part to Reduce NJ’s Working Poor

ALICE Report Reveals Startling Figures on NJ’s Working Poor

The United Way uses the term “ALICE”: Asset Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed to further define and explain the working poor population in the United States and New Jersey. Individuals categorized as “ALICE” has jobs and while they have salaries, these salaries are not enough for daily needs and monthly expenses.

According to Nj.com guest columnist Michelle Davis, executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer at RWJBarnabas Health, “One-quarter of New Jersey households are considered ALICE, despite being one of the wealthiest states in the nation.”

Many companies have responded to the need of ALICE households, such as RWJBarnabas Health Facility through its Jersey City Medical Center’s Ladders Program.

This Facility created a system wide Social Impact and Community Investment Practice, which addresses social, economic, and environmental conditions associated with health issues and large costs. It tackles issues such as economic instability, food insecurity, and unaffordable housing.

Nj.com reported on two individuals who benefited from this program. One woman, Janet “…has continued to grow in her career at Jersey City Medical Center. She began as a medical assistant/phlebotomist, moved on to a medical biller and coder, and is now a billing coordinator, which has doubled her salary. She was able to go back to school and is currently working to attain a degree in health business management.”

RWJBarnabas recognizes itself as a key community player and has taken on a leadership role among other companies. They are expanding the Jersey City Medical Center’s Ladders program to its other facilities.

The United Way’s ALICE report emphasizes the need for companies like RWJBarnabas to take initiative to support NJ’s working poor. Nj.com has followed its example, becoming part of the ALICE United Way National Advisory Council and creating pathways to more livable wages.

This type of action is not only positive for the individual employees of companies, but can overall help improve the productivity and profitability of companies as a whole. RWJBarnabas hopes more companies identity opportunities to support ALICE workers in their work environments.

On July 25th, a Congressional Reception will be held at the Dirksen Senate Auditorium in Washington D.C. This event will allow New Jersey Residents who are working poor, below the poverty line and or impacted by homelessness to urge their elected officials in Washington to make No Cuts to Housing and remind them that Opportunity Starts at Home.

Increased funding for affordable housing including housing vouchers would benefit ALICE individuals and households, allowing them to spend no more than 30% of their income on rent, therefore allowing them to spend their remaining income on other necessities and expenses.

Click here for more information about the Congressional Reception. You can also follow @OppStartsatHome in order to learn more about the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign. Follow the event with these hashtags #NJHillDay #NoHousingCuts and @OppStartsatHome.

ALICE Study

41% of N.J. households among the ‘working poor’

Star Ledger Op-ed

2018 Congressional Reception

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