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Basic Needs

Helping people meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and safety.

A sudden job loss. A devastating illness. The bills pile up and rent falls behind. You find yourself choosing between basic needs, whether to put a meal on the table or turn on the heat. Just one major financial setback can be completely devastating to families already living month to month.

The ability to meet basic needs is one of the building blocks for a good life. As members of a community, we are all connected. When one person suffers, we all suffer. At the same time, when one hungry family eats well, when a homeless person finds shelter or when one individual experiencing domestic violence finds hope, everyone benefits. United Way helps people overcome life's challenges and meet their basic needs so they are prepared to take advantage of education, job training, counseling and other resources that set them on a permanent path to a better life.

2-1-1 Mid-York

United Way Basic Needs Initiative

2-1-1 Mid-York is a free information and referral service that connects people with questions about food, housing, health and other essential services to resources in the community. Individuals can access 2-1-1 by dialing three simple digits, 2-1-1, or by visiting 2-1-1 helps people cut through what can be a confusing maze of information and resources. Trained information and referral specialists help people assess their needs and find resources to help them overcome life's challenges. Learn more about 2-1-1 Mid-York.




New York State ALICE Report

United Way's Study of Financial Hardship

ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) represents the growing number of individuals who are working but are unable to afford the basic necessities of housing, food, childcare, healthcare, and transportation.

ALICE is a hardworking member of the community who is employed yet does not earn enough to afford the basic necessities of life. ALICE is your child care worker, your parent on Social Security, the cashier at your supermarket, the gas attendant, the salesperson at your big box store, your waitress, a home health aide, an office clerk. ALICE cannot always pay the bills, has little or nothing in savings, and is forced to make tough choices such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent. One unexpected car repair or medical bill can push these financially strapped families over the edge.

Traditional measures of poverty do not capture the magnitude of people who are struggling financially. Our new metric offers a better way to count and understand ALICE and to ultimately inform policy decisions to affect positive change for this growing portion of our population. Read the report at