Imagine being a single mother, trying to find an apartment for you and your children. Everything you can find in your price range is either falling apart or in a part of the city that isn't safe for your children. You've been working thirty hours each at two part-time jobs, but between child care and paying for a place to live, you are barely scrimping by paycheck to paycheck. Your savings account is non-existent.
Maybe you are one of the countless single mothers who doesn't need to try terribly hard to imagine this scenario.
A single mother herself, Marie has spent the last few years living in a small apartment with her five sons, after emigrating to the United States from a refugee camp in Rwanda. Like so many other single mothers, Marie had difficulty finding a decent and affordable rental option for herself and her sons. The thought of having the power to own her own home never even entered her mind.
Then Marie and her son Celestin applied to purchase an affordable home through Greater Matthews Habitat for Humanity. The two are Homeowners in Process and are working to build their own home.
At Greater Matthews Habitat, we know that the benefits of stable, affordable homeownership are immense and cannot be overstated. Homeownership improves school performance, decreases crime, and enhances the health and well-being of both children and adults.
Without the support of programs like those offered by Habitat for Humanity, many single mothers are unable to make the transition from renter to homeowner. Over half of the 37 million Americans living in poverty today are women. Over a third of all single women raising children live in poverty. Women and children make up the majority of people populating Habitat neighborhoods, as they are the most likely to be affected by poor living conditions.
Research has shown that when single women embark on the conventional path to homeownership, they often find themselves face to face with barriers that men are less likely to encounter. Single women are often forced to struggle with:
earning less than men and having less wealth to carry with them into the future
lender discrimination and lack of access to affordable mortgages
As a part of our Sandy Marano Memorial Women Build, you can help to knock down these barriers and empower women like Marie to build a stable future for herself and her children. Habitat for Humanity Women Build not only raises awareness, it helps changes lives.