Policy Brief: Homelessness in Single Women with Children
Issue of Concern: According to Greendoor “a typical sheltered homeless family is comprised of a mother in her late twenties with two children. They represent 84% experiencing homelessness.” SAMHSA says, “The issue of concern is what the single mother has and/or experiences traumatic stress, childhood abuse and neglect, interpersonal violence, mental health issues, especially depression, and substance use issues and homelessness. While the mother is experiencing these issues, they have an adverse effect on the children. Then the children will subsequently experience homelessness along with hunger, poor physical and behavioral health outcomes, missed educational opportunities, instability at home and in school, family separation, and violence.”
Severity of the Problem: The largest number of homeless women and children worldwide is the United States. The estimated count if single women with children is 60% with children under the age of 18, however, 65% of them live with at least one of their children according to Greendoors Family Homelessness Fact Sheet.
Current Efforts to Address the Problem: The White House issued Biden-Harris Administration released an announcement on their plan to prevent and end homelessness through the All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness ( https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/12/19/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-announces-plan-to-prevent-and-end-homelessness/ ):
· Setting a goal to reduce homelessness 25% by 2025.
· To prevent people from becoming homeless, address inequities that disproportionately impact underserved communities, including people of color and other marginalized groups, and help cities and states reduce unsheltered homelessness.
· Create a community response team that will provide full-time federal assistance.
· The team will provide maximum flexibility and regulatory relief to identify problems and solutions to minimize bureaucratic processes.
· The federal government will help participating communities utilize and analyze all available data.
· Agencies will provide volunteers for outreach to people experiencing homelessness and access to peer-to-peer networks to exchange best practices and approaches.
Challenges/Opportunities: The challenges to ending homelessness is the lack of housing supply for individuals, rent increase over time, slow wage and income growth, inadequate access to healthcare, education, and supportive services; there is limited alternatives to unsheltered homelessness, criminalization of homelessness, and trauma and fatigue among providers.
Recommended Policy Changes:
· Recommendation #1: Raise awareness of the need for unprecedented investment of new funding sources. This can move people into housing and increase the availability of housing and housing subsidies. These resources can increase funding and improve existing programs such as vouchers, and low-income housing tax credits, and increase affordable housing supply.
· Recommendation #2: Prove that there is commitment through regulatory flexibility and executive action. Confirming governing bodies work together, diminish inequity within the economy and to expand opportunity for people of color and other marginalized groups. As well as including housing supply action plan, national mental health strategy, and national drug control strategy.
Requested Action Steps:
1. Step 1: Would reinstating the program to promote work and self-sufficiency condition in the public housing assistance. As individuals are eligible for the program to be enrolled in education and work incentives of the program initiating sustainable sufficiency.
2. Step 2: Would implementing timeframes for participants to utilize the program? It helps to avoid complacency in the program and increases of reoccurrence in the program.
3. Step 3: Would implementing an incentive for participants in the program to advance to homeownership with succession and no violations of the program within a timeframe?
Measures of Success:
· Increase in funding to existing and new program.
· Increase in access to affordable housing supply to people with color and other marginalized groups.
· Decrease in inequity within the economy people of color and other marginalized groups.
· Increase in homeless single women with children sustaining stable housing.
· Increase in access to adequate healthcare, education, and supportive services.