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Consequences of Households Living Below ALICE Threshold

Impact on ALICE households Impact on Community
Housing
Live in substandard housing Inconvenience; health and safety risks; increased maintenance costs Worker stressed, late, and/or absent from job—less productive
Move farther away from job Longer commute; costs increase; less time for other activities More traffic on road; workers late to job
Homeless Disruption to job, family, school, etc. Costs for homeless shelters, foster care system, health care
Child Care and Education
Substandard child care Safety and learning risks; health risks; limited future employment opportunity Future burden on education and social services; less productive worker
No child care One parent cannot work; foregoing immediate income and future promotions Further burden on education system and other social services
Substandard public education Learning risks; limited earning potential/mobility; limited career opportunity Stressed parents; future burden on social services
FOOD
Less healthy Poor health; obesity Less productive worker/student; future burden on health care system
Not enough Poor daily functioning Even less productive; future burden on social services and health care system
TRANSPORTATION
Old car Unreliable transportation; risk of accidents; increased maintenance costs Worker stressed, late, and/or absent from job—less productive
No insurance/registration Risk of fine; accident liability; risk of license being revoked Higher insurance premiums; unsafe vehicles on the road
Long commute Less time for other activities; more costly More traffic on road; workers late to job; greater burden on road maintenance services
No car Limited employment opportunities and access to health care/child care Reduced economic productivity; higher taxes for specialized public transportation; greater burden on emergency vehicles
Health and health care
Underinsured Forego preventative health care; more out-of-pocket expense Workers report to job sick; spread illness; less productive; absenteeism
No insurance Forego preventative health care; use Emergency Department for non-emergency care Higher insurance premiums for all to fill the gap; more expensive health costs
Income
Low wages Longer work hours; pressure on other family members to work (drop out of school); no savings Worker stressed, late, and/or absent from job—less productive; higher taxes to fill gap
No wages Cost of looking for work and finding social services Less productive society; higher taxes to fill gap
Savings
Minimal savings Mental stress; crises; risk taking; use costly alternative financial systems to bridge gaps More workers facing crisis; unstable workforce; community disruption
No savings Crises spiral quickly, leading to homelessness, hunger, illness Costs for homeless shelters, foster care system, emergency health care

Reference: United Way ALICE Report – Pacific Northwest 2015

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