On Friday, September 21, the Greenwich United Way Community Planning Council held its monthly meeting at Temple Sholom to discuss the growing number of Connecticut and Greenwich residents in need of critical health, education and self-sufficiency programs. Richard Porth, President & CEO, United Way of Connecticut led a presentation titled Basic Human Needs: ALICE – A Study of Financial Hardship in Connecticut. Porth defined ALICE, an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed and that this population represents about 30% of Connecticut households that have earnings above the Federal Poverty Level but below a basic cost-of-living.
During his presentation, Porth explained that financial hardship is growing in Connecticut and a growing number of people are struggling to meet basic needs. He stated the four areas of focus at United Way of Connecticut to meet this need as investing in programs and services, promoting financial security, mobilizing community partners and connecting Connecticut residents to services. Porth mentioned that a recent Greenwich Time article provided an update on the ALICE population in Greenwich. He encouraged all in attendance to visit the ALICE simulator online (www.makingtoughchoices.org), participate in the virtual activity and share with colleagues and co-workers. This simulator allows the user to better understand the needs of this population by experiencing some of the tough choices that ALICE families have to make every day.
According to the Greenwich United Way Needs Assessment, poverty persists in Greenwich and service providers cite continuing poverty and ALICE level income as the biggest driver of food insecurity, as many residents have not rebounded from constrained economic circumstances as the region’s economy improved. The most recent data shows 6% of Greenwich households are at or below the federal poverty level and 21% of households are in the United Way ALICE category. “The Community Planning Council was established by Greenwich United Way to encourage the most effective and efficient health and human service delivery system for Greenwich,” said Greenwich United Way CEO, David Rabin. He continued, “We need to foster this type of communication between agencies more than ever to help streamline services, eliminate duplicated programs and ensure the best use of program funding through private entities like Greenwich United Way.”
The Council is comprised of community leaders, nonprofit service professionals, Greenwich United Way board members, and community volunteers, the work of the Planning Council, particularly through its periodic Needs Assessments, has led to the development of some of the Town’s most valued programs and institutions. Participating organizations include Greenwich Commission on Aging, Greenwich Department of Human Services, Greenwich Hospital, Greenwich Housing Authority, Greenwich Police Department, Greenwich Library, Greenwich Public Schools/Greenwich Board of Education/PTAC, Junior League of Greenwich, Greenwich Department of Health, Greenwich Alliance for Education, Greenwich Chamber of Commerce, Family Centers, Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, Liberation Programs, Inc., and Temple Sholom of Greenwich.
“The Greenwich United Way convenes a monthly meeting whereby representatives from local partner agencies and organizations come together to explore and discuss topics of concern to our community. It is my hope that these meetings will allow from cross-conversation so that limited resources are not overlapping and solutions to problems can be created and executed together,” explained Greenwich United Way Board Member and Community Planning Council Chair, Joui Hessel.
Visit the Greenwich United Way online for highlights from each meeting (https://greenwichunitedway.org/our-approach/community-planning-council/). The next Community Planning Council will be held on Thursday, October 18 at 8:30 am. The topic for the October meeting is Older Adults: Dementia Friends Greenwich. For more information please contact Director of Community Impact, Robert Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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About Greenwich United Way
The Greenwich United Way (GUW) shares a name with approximately 1,200 other similar organizations across the nation, although the Greenwich, Connecticut division is a privately incorporated, locally governed, nonprofit agency. As a volunteer-driven organization, the Greenwich United Way exists to help identify and address the health, educational and self-sufficiency needs specific to its local community and to create and affect meaningful, lasting solutions. Through various fundraising efforts and on-going research, the organization is able to directly grant the funds necessary to accomplish this goal. The Greenwich United Way also invests in and conducts collaborative efforts to address broad-based community needs with partnering nonprofit agencies. Visit Greenwich United Way online to learn more (greenwichunitedway.org). Instagram @GreenwichUnitedWay Twitter @GreenwichUW #WeAreGreenwich