Mental Well-Being

When Ends Don’t Meet – Connecting Residents with Necessary Resources

December 20, 2023
What Can a Support Navigator Do for You?

At the Hancock Health Connection Center, we often find ourselves talking about ALICE. ALICE isn’t a person, but an acronym that stands for Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed. These are individuals who are employed but still struggle to afford the basics of daily life. They are caught in a gray area where they make too much to qualify for government assistance programs, but their wages cannot cover housing, food and other necessities. What is an individual to do when ends don’t meet?

The Connection Center is often associated with mental health and substance misuse resources. But about half of the people served by the Connection Center last year were seeking help for other challenges of daily living. Many of these same people are part of the ALICE population. Let’s look at who these individuals are, and how the Connection Center can help them meet their most basic needs.

Who is struggling?

A special report, titled “ALICE in the Crosscurrents: COVID and Financial Hardship in Indiana,” was unveiled earlier this year by Indiana United Ways and United Way of Central Indiana in partnership with United For ALICE, a research organization. The report talks about who is struggling and what might be done to support this population. Key findings include:

Research shows that many of the support staff workers within our economy are also part of the ALICE population. People who work in fast food or as personal care aides often do not make enough to meet the ALICE threshold. Childcare workers, who are the “workers behind the workforce,” can struggle to make ends meet for their own children. Seniors who are 65 and older are disproportionately represented as well.

How can the Connection Center help?

The Connection Center works to enhance the health of Hancock County residents through supportive services, programming initiatives, and free resources. While much of the focus in the past has been on physical and mental wellness, the center’s outreach activities include working with people who are battling other challenges, whether they’re taking care of an elderly loved one or finding enough food to feed the kids. The Connection Center is not a food bank or a crisis center, but it is equipped with caring Support Navigators who can help connect residents with local supportive resources. For example:

Housing: The Connection Center works with individuals who are seeking safe housing or shelter. Sarah House, one of our dedicated Support Navigators, is especially passionate about this issue. Sarah recently sat on a panel for the Community Foundation of Hancock County’s Civic Circle to discuss the growing concerns about the ALICE population. Hancock Health maintains a list of resources providing shelter, counseling, and other supportive services, and can help individuals determine the best options for their unique situations.

Healthcare: An unexpected medical bill can mean the difference between security and financial ruin for some households. The Connection Center Support Navigators may be able to help people understand their medical bills and set up an affordable payment plan. They can recommend low-cost or no-cost healthcare providers, and in some cases, they may be able to connect people with organizations that help pay for medications and healthcare.

Children and family services: Sometimes it is difficult for parents to find the appropriate supportive resources for their children, especially if those parents are focused on their own financial challenges. Hancock Health maintains a database of services for children and families, including assistance for children with developmental delays, or parenting programs for parents who are seeking community connections.

Nobody should have to navigate the basics of daily living alone. The Hancock Health Connection Center is dedicated to serving all Hancock County residents, including those who fall within the ALICE population threshold. Call us at (317) 468-4231 to talk to a caring Support Navigator. When you’re not sure where to start, start with the Hancock Health Connection Center.

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