ALICE in Promiseland
Life is unpredictable.
One moment we can be on top of the world and the next, be face down on the pavement. Life's dilemmas spare no one but getting back up after we fall is what makes our lives truly worth living.
After her life and marriage came crumbling down, Veronica Henry is still fighting her way back up to the top. During her marriage, Veronica built a comfortable lifestyle for her family. " At our height, we were a dual income household, raising two children, and earning 6-figures". After her 18-year marriage ended in divorce, adjusting to her new reality was difficult. At the snap of a finger, she was "quickly demoted from that 6-figure lifestyle to earning just $46,000/year". It didn't make her financial situation easier that she now had to pay divorce fees and support her children who had a history of special needs.
As she worked with the Housing Choice Voucher program, helping low-income residents gain subsidized housing, it dawned on her that she was now a low-income resident as well. She had two degrees, was financially responsible, and had a good credit score; and yet, here she was in the same predicament as those whom she served. She is proof that hardship does not discriminate and anyone can be ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed), even people we wouldn't expect. She joins the 74 percent of single mothers in Frederick County, who are ALICE and living under the survival threshold.
"I hadn’t realized that I was trading my prospect for a healthier relationship for my financial self-sufficiency"
After 25 years of living in this city, she found herself unable to afford life, in the very place she loved. She built a family and a career in Frederick, so how could she say goodbye?
In a positive turn of events, she was able to get back on her feet. She now owns a home and is financially stable. However, Veronica was one of the lucky ones; there are still many single mothers who are ALICE and are trying to find a way out. For this very reason, here at the United Way Prosperity Center, we make it our mission to aid ALICE households in achieving financial stability through our programs.