FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — The United Way of Frederick County revealed the 2020 ALICE report Tuesday during a virtual announcement.  The report finds that 37 percent of families within the county are considered “Asset Limited Income Constrained, Employed,” or ALICE families.

“Working families who don’t have income to meet basic needs in our community,” explained president of United Way of Frederick County, Ken Oldham.

According to the report, a majority of ALICE families live within the City of Frederick and rural communities like Thurmont and Emmitsburg. Oldhman says this makeup follow national trends. 

A breakdown by age shows that those under the age of 25, and those over 65 are struggling the most. Of those living in the county who are under the age of 25, 83 percent fall within the ALICE and poverty line measure. Of those who are over 65, 47 percent fall within ALICE and poverty line measures.

“This is concerning in two ways: first, the percentage is going up on an annual basis, and the number of seniors in our community is also growing,” Oldham explained.

The report states that 49 percent of households of color can’t afford basic needs like shelter, housing and transportation compared to 35 percent of white households. 

When the demographics of race and ethnicity are more closely examined, Black and Hispanic households struggle the most. 50 percent of Black households fall within ALICE or poverty line measure, compared to 57 percent of Hispanic households, according to the report. 

“[There are] higher concentrations in the African American and Hispanic households, with significant growth in Hispanic households compared to the prior years,” Oldham said.

This year’s report is based on 2018 figures. Between 2016 and 2018, the percentage of ALICE families and those within the poverty line fellow by two percent. But amid the coronavirus pandemic, the rate of ALICE families could increase. 

“A vast majority of the households that either lost hours, lost employment, or have been furloughed are ALICE households. We have strong anecdotal evidence to support that housing have been a major issue, paying rent, paying mortgage,” said Oldham. 

Oldham invited fellow community members to speak on the issue of struggling families including Daryl Boffman with Frederick County Public Schools, Josh Bokee with Comcast, Maria Herrera with the Spanish Speaking Community of Maryland, and Ramenta Cottrell with the City of Frederick Department of Housing and Human Services. 

Cottrell says moving forward local organizations must continue working together through the end of the pandemic and afterwards.

“It is an opportunity for non-profit leaders to really come together and figure out how we can streamline resources, work together,” she said. 

For more information on the 2020 ALICE Report, click here.