Approximately 45 percent of single mothers in Philadelphia who live with their own children under the age of 18 fall below the poverty line, according to the United States Census Bureau's 2007 to 2011 estimates. This makes it difficult for these mothers to find affordable housing in the city. By comparison, only about 12 percent of married couple families have an income below the poverty level. Luckily, a number of programs are in place to help these single-mother families find the shelter that they need.
Women's Community Revitalization Project
The Women’s Community Revitalization Project provides affordable housing for low-income mothers and their families in Philadelphia. This housing includes 10 new developments, 246 new homes and $53 million invested into these communities, reports the organization's official website. These housing developments come in the form of two, three and four bedroom apartments and townhouses, which provide enough room for families of all sizes. The organization also has 50 additional units planned for the future.
Dignity Housing has a number of programs aimed at helping single mothers who have suffered from substance abuse and domestic violence, as well as programs that are meant to help get these mothers back into the workforce. One program, Alicia's House, provides intensive support systems to single mothers who are recovering from substance abuse or domestic abuse problems for 18 to 24 months. Another program, Dignity III, focuses on providing a stable environment for mothers while helping to improve their employment skills.
Housing Choice Voucher Program
Some families are eligible for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which helps low-income families pay for affordable housing in the city. This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is meant to provide housing choices for these residents. Rather than forcing single mothers to live in a specific residence, the program provides families with vouchers that can be put toward their monthly rent, states the Philadelphia Housing Authority's website.
Since 1999, Overington House has provided women and their children with housing assistance. Its program helps homeless women who have suffered from abuse and addiction by providing them with affordable housing and helping them to return to mainstream society. The house includes 13 separate living quarters for families, although they do have to share bathrooms, common areas and dining rooms. The program has helped more than 175 families over the years, with 55 percent of these families becoming self-sufficient after leaving, states Overington House's official website.
- United States Census Bureau: Selected Economic Characteristics - 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates
- Women’s Community Revitalization Project: Affordable Housing and Property Management
- Dignity Housing: Providing Housing
- Philadelphia Housing Authority: About the Housing Choice Voucher Program
- Overington House: History, Mission, and Approach
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images