Single Mothers Living Below The Poverty Line
Across our country and specifically, in Alameda County, single mothers by far, are the most impoverished family unit. And in Oakland, while the minimum wage has increased to $13.23 per hour, there is still a significant gap between income and cost of living.
It’s been our practice to use the Self-Sufficiency Standard by www.insightcced.org. as a tool to help our participants understand the amount of earnings they will need to make ends meet and guide our organization’s efforts to create a bridge from our mission to viable career pathways. Using this tool, a single mother of a 2 year old toddler needs to earn $60, 383 annually, a major feat for mothers that are often looking for gainful employment with the added weight of parenting responsibilities, limited education, non-violent criminal histories, unsafe environments and homelessness.
Additionally, with our nation’s ‘hour glass’ shaped economy, helping mothers find jobs appropriate to their skill level that will also provide a self-sufficient wage, can feel like an uphill battle. While our national and local numbers have recovered beyond the Great Recession, single mothers living in under-resourced communities are still left behind.
With the convergence of historical and generational socio-economic inequalities, and a loss of middle jobs that provide living wages and upward mobility, the need to scale our enterprise to offer strategic skill-building and coaching within a supportive environment, as a bridge to longer-term employment and educational opportunity, is growing more and more critical, every day.
The urban university Board of Directors recently conducted strategic planning to identify organizational priorities for 2017-2018 that would support our overall goal of expanding our impact on single moms living in poverty in the East Bay community.
Our 2017-2018 strategic priorities include:
- Scaling the urban furniture & boutique social enterprise to support the expansion of the Single Moms at Work program;
- Build a “bridge” for moms to enter into private sector employment and post-secondary certificate and degree programs;
- Expand our transitional housing program;
- Establishing an urban learning center to offer single moms in the larger East Bay community vocational, personal and professional development workshops
Beyond 2018, we aspire to create, in addition to our existing retail establishments, multiple transitional employment enterprises as a viable ecosystem to support single moms. We are striving towards becoming a fully financially self-sustaining nonprofit organization as we create jobs for the community.