Even with government and non-profit resources, there is still a 35% funding gap in Virginia to support the ALICE individuals and families. At United Way, we are focused on helping ALICE move from crisis to survival to sustainability.


If you have kids, you've probably experienced or heard about, the challenges many parents face in finding quality childcare. From long waiting lists to sudden facility closings, navigating this world can be overwhelming and frustrating for parents.

It's even more of a challenge for ALICE families as quality childcare centers have limited availability for scholarships.

So what do ALICE families do?

  • Sacrifice quality and/or safety which increases health risks and often leaves children less-likely to be school-ready and reading at grade level.
  • Go without childcare altogether which often means one parent cannot work, forgoing immediate income and future promotion.


Housing and homelessness is a big issue in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. Having a home is the foundation of financial stability, but the relatively high cost of renting or owning a home is also a financial burden for many.

ALICE families spend more than half of their income on housing and often face difficult choices in order to make up the difference.

So what do ALICE families do?

  • Live in substandard housing or unsafe neighborhoods, leading to health and safety risks, increased maintenance costs, and increased risk of crime. 
  • Move farther away from their job(s), which leads to a longer commute, cost increases elsewhere, less time for other activities such as spending time with children.
  • Lose their home, which is a disruption to all aspects of life for their family.


Because most low-wage workers don't have the option to work from home, transportation is crucial to them, and it also determines how easily a family can reach doctors, grocery stores, and other community resources outside of their neighborhoods. Yet low-income families may not be able to lease or buy a car or find housing near public transit, especially when public transit in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County is limited.

So what do ALICE families do?

  • Drive an older vehicle, which can be unreliable and lead to a higher risk of accidents and an increase in maintenance costs.
  • Go without insurance or registration, which increases the risk of fines, accident liability, or having their license revoked.
  • Have a longer commute, which increases costs, leaves less time for other needs, and is often weather-dependent.
  • Go without a car, which means limited employment opportunities or an inability to get to necessary appointments.