TRENTON – Leaders of the state’s General Assembly gathered last week to honor Stephanie Hoopes, who was the head researcher and author of the United Way ALICE Report.
“This is a well-deserved recognition for someone who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to providing policymakers with a true picture of financial need in our state,” United Way CEO John Franklin said. “The ALICE study provides a deeper understanding of financial insecurity, one that has been understated and obscured for too long by misleading averages and outdated poverty statistics.”
Speaker Vincent Prieto and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle took the opportunity of Women’s History Month to recognize Hoopes, who testified last month during the legislature’s anti-poverty hearings.
Hoopes, a long-time resident of Mountain Lakes, was presented with a resolution recognizing her commitment to providing comprehensive, objective data that can inform policy discussions. She was one of 10 influential women recognized on the Assembly floor.
Through work with United Way of Northern New Jersey, Hoopes developed a series of new measurements which reveal more than 40 percent of the state’s households face unenviable choices in order to survive financially.
The measures determined that there are nearly 890,000 ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) families living paycheck to paycheck in New Jersey, close to three times the official poverty rate. Together with those represented by the federal poverty rate, this research shows a total of 1.2 million of the state’s households are unable to make ends meet.
“I am honored to lend my voice to represent the hardworking ALICEs in communities all across the state and country, who go to work each day like all of us, but can’t afford safe housing, quality child care and preventative health care,” Hoopes said. “I hope policymakers will consider the impact on ALICE every time they weigh public policy decisions.”
Prior to joining United Way, Hoopes served as director of the New Jersey DataBank at Rutgers University – Newark’s School of Public Affairs and Administration. While at the DataBank, Hoopes oversaw research spanning 20 areas of public policy.