It is not always easy to find housing for single mothers. The housing should be affordable and safe. In most large cities, safe neighborhoods often do not have affordable housing. A single mother looking for housing must also take into account commuting distance to her job. If the housing found makes the commute too far to be feasible, or increases the cost of the commute by an unreasonable amount, then, no matter what the rent, the housing really cannot be said to be affordable. Housing for single mothers must also be close enough to daycare facilities. Again, if the housing is so far from the daycare facilities that the cost of the commute is not feasible, then the housing cannot be said to be affordable.
HUD and local Housing Authorities can help with housing for single mothers. Unfortunately, there are waiting lists for public housing and the lists are often closed when they get so long that there is no chance of filling them within a reasonable amount of time. Depending on the mothers income, it may well be worth getting on a waiting list for public housing. The average cost of public housing is 30% of the mothers income. This equates to less than $500 per month for a single mother making $10.00 per hour. However, with a set fee like this, if the mothers income goes up, her rent will also go up. A single mother making $15.00 per hour would pay $720 per month for the same apartment that costs less than $500 a month for a woman making $10.00 per hour.
Many single mothers looking for housing try to find a place near their family, so that they can have their family’s support. In order to afford housing near their families, they will often rent one-bedroom, or studio apartments, instead of the two or three bedroom apartments that the family needs.
Housing for single mothers is not just a question of a roof over the family’s head. The family needs furniture and laundry facilities, phone service and utilities. If the family qualifies for public housing for single mothers, they often qualify for assistance on their utilities bills. If the family finds non-public housing, the mother will need to put down deposits and pay connection fees for gas, electricity and, sometimes, water. Many times the single mother will have to do without telephone service. When furnishing the apartment, the single mother often is unable to afford any but the bare necessities. Instead of a bedroom set, the single mother will settle for bare mattresses on the floor. Instead of a living room set, the single mother may have to settle for a few second-hand lawn chairs. Finding affordable housing for single mothers is often just the beginning in the struggle to make a home for their family.