Heart of Indiana is Helping Families THRIVE in Madison County
Nearly half of the households in Madison County struggle to meet their basic budget despite working. The 2020 Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, and Employed (ALICE) Report, a study of the socio-economic composition of the state of Indiana, highlighted the budgetary demands of the modern era and the challenges faced by those who are ALICE.
Government-funded programs like SNAP, Earned Income Tax Credits, Childcare Vouchers, and On My Way Pre-K help low-income workers by providing critical supports to those who qualify. Yet, many ALICE families do not. They make just a little too much to qualify for these benefits, and the marginal extra bit of income they earn is not enough to meet their family’s financial needs or set aside money emergencies.
Based on the Annie E. Casey Center for Working Families model, Heart of Indiana United Way’s THRIVE Network meets people where they are and helps them transition from barely surviving on their budget to thriving financially long-term. By viewing people as creative, resourceful, and whole, the Network provides steady support through a 1:1 coactive coaching model. As a result, people are setting and achieving life goals they may not have thought possible.
THRIVE coaches, provide coaching in three areas—income supports, financial, and employment. They work with ALICE families to develop goals and a plan toward achieving financial stability over a period of time. Since launching this approach in 2016, promising evidence shows this impact strategy is working in Madison County. In total:
- 55 THRIVE Coaches have been trained.
- Over 1,200 people have been served by THRIVE.
- 325 participants have accomplished long-term goals they set with coaches.
- 339 participants are actively pursuing goals.
In fiscal year 2021-2022 alone, of the 562 THRIVE participants in Madison County:
- 34% increased their income
- 28% improved their employment
- 20% of clients reported decreased expenses
- 14% increased their net worth
- 10% improved their credit score
While the specific goals and plans are as unique as the people the THRIVE Network serves, we continue to see people meet their goals and then return to set and achieve new goals for themselves.
Like Heather, who was able to rebuild her life after an accident left her unable to work. By working with THRIVE coaches, she found financial assistance for rent and utilities after she fell behind. She also worked with an employment coach to build a new resume and find a new job. She continued to work with a THRIVE financial coach to keep her finances on track.
While these kinds of successes are inspirational, this work is not without its challenges. People have struggled with setbacks and troubles. Plus, COVID disproportionately impacted ALICE households.
While we have not yet seen the ALICE data post pandemic, based on the calls for help United Way receives, we predict the number of households living in poverty and ALICE will have increased since the last report. With the increasing costs of essential items like gas and groceries, support for our ALICE friends is needed now more than ever.
Critical support for ALICE comes from Madison County donors and volunteers for United Way and our nonprofit partners. Together, we are working to ensure basic needs are met, and families can thrive long-term. Heart of Indiana’s campaign is happening now. To give, please visit https://HeartOfIndianaUnitedWay.org/give.