Helping women become economically stable and move into the middle class is what New Economics for Women (NEW) has always believed will make our country stronger.
I am a business woman, a social entrepreneur, and a passionate advocate for creating economic opportunities for vulnerable women and families. My work includes addressing the issue of homelessness for women and their families.
This issue is not JUST about gender or race. It is all about ECONOMIC EQUITY & JUSTICE. For JUSTICE, we must change the face of homelessness. For JUSTICE, we must not allow children to sleep in cars and go to bed hungry. For JUSTICE, we must make sure that women do not have to go through garbage to get enough recycled cans to help pay their rent so they do not become homeless.
Los Angeles (LA) County has 47,000 people living on the street. This issue is a priority NOW. Today we must find a way to house chronically homeless men (which by federal/local regulations means anyone being on the street homeless for ONE YEAR). While billions of dollars are now dedicated to end this chronic situation, only 20% of these funds in LA County will go to house families. Last year, LAHSA only helped 1500 homeless families, a mere 3%.
Without addressing a person’s ability to earn a wage, five (5) years on welfare guarantees her path to homelessness. Renting a studio apartment in LA County costs a minimum of $10,000 per year. If a mother at La Posada is on welfare, her income is $8,748. How can the county expects her to go to school, get a job, pay for housing, buy food, etc.?
A single mother with six (6) children all under 15 years old, and on public assistance, can receive $30,696 a year as income to care for her disabled child. To rent a 3-bedroom apartment in LA County costs $22,800. How do you believe she can have a quality of life and ensure her children are successful with this type of economic reality?
What a horribly guaranteed path to generational poverty!
For these families, their only viable option is the affordable and safe housing at NEW, where they can pay only 33% of their income for rent. With NEW, they also have access to additional resources to help their children thrive at school and at home.
Our work is not about a temporary handout that will shelter a woman and her family for a few days or months. It’s about ending generational cycles of homelessness and poverty, while creating economic equity solutions to ensure that women truly improve their economic trajectory into the middle class.
by Bea Stotzer