There are millions of people currently living in poverty in the United States. Majority of the people who are living in poverty are single parents having to support their families. In this paper, we will be discussing poverty in the aspects of a single parent household and the effects on the single parent. We will also be discussing programs that a single parent living in poverty can benefit from, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Section 8 or HUD. Living in poverty is very overwhelming, especially for someone who has a family to provide for. We believe that with these programs, families can overcome poverty and live prosperous lives!
When there’s only one parent with a poor income it can cause many problems financially, emotionally and mentally. These burdens could increase instability, loneliness, emotional changes, and depression, causing it to be one of the reasons for poverty. Studies show that in 2016, 40.6 million Americans total incomes fell below the poverty line, which is only $24,339 for a family of four, two parents and two children (Single Parenthood And Poverty The Undeniable Connection, 2018).
For those who fall below the poverty line, 12.7% of the population were single parent households, another 8.7 million were children under 18 in these single-parent homes (Single Parenthood And Poverty The Undeniable Connection, 2018). Together, single-parent households and their children totaled nearly 14 million people, which is roughly a third of all people in poverty. With parents having less time for their children it causes children to suffer and have a lack of educational support from their parents, causing children and young adults to fall behind in school and even drop out at an early age.
With children as young as 15 dropping out of school early just to work and help out with their parent’s bills, it forces them to mature early and have children even earlier causing them to stay in poverty rather than get out of it. This day in time parents have created a cycle and their children have fallen into this cycle with no way out do to the lack of education, lack of skills, and lack of correct guidance. With lack of support and guidance the government should fund a place where children and parents could go for the proper help and guidance they need to break this cycle of poverty.
There are millions of people living in poverty in the United States. Majority of these people are, unfortunately, single mothers. The statistics for mothers and fathers on child support, according to Census Bureau ( December 2011), there are 13.7 million single parents in the United States that are living in poverty. These single parents are raising 22 million children (Grall, 2009). With that being said, out of these 12 million single parent families, the woman make up the majority. The 80 percent of the single families are headed by women. The single mom household, unfortunately, is the demographic group that fall below poverty lines. The Census data did show 40 percent of single mothers that are head of household are poor (Grall, 2009). According to CNN, Don Lemon states, “ More than 72 percent of African American birth are out of wedlock” (CNN, 2013). There are numerous programs that are great for assisting low income families.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is one. TANF is a time limited program that assist families with children when the parent or parents or other responsible caregiver can’t provide the families basic needs. Congress created the TANF block grant through the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996 signed by President Clinton. TANF became effective on July 1, 1997 (TANF Policy, Services, and Benefits — TANF Reauthorization, n.d.). According to the Office of Family Assistance, the TANF program is intended to help needy families achieve self-independency.
States receive block grants that plan and function programs that accomplish one of the drives of the TANF program. There are ultimately four purposes of the TANF program, which are to provide support to disadvantaged families so that children can have the basic necessities in their own homes, making needy parents more independent by encouraging job preparation, and marriage counseling, educate and hopefully reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and lastly encourage the formation and preservation of two parent families (Office of the Adminstration of Children & Familoes, n.d.). Only Florida resident families with children age 18 and younger would be eligible to receive TANF benefits.
A TANF beneficiary family must consist of 1 parent and their children or 2 blood relatives caring for their related children, according to floridafoodstamps.org. TANF beneficiary families must have little to no income to qualify for assistances. The maximum income limit varies according to family size and number of parents or caregivers. Single parents receiving TANF benefits for both themselves and their children are required to work at least 30 hours per week, or 20 hours per week if they have a child six or younger. In Florida, TANF allows up to 48 months of benefits, but can make an exception for certain hardship situations. Lastly, TANF bases their benefits on family household size and income coming into the household (Florida Food Stamps, 2018).
Another program that helps families who are living in poverty is Section 8 housing. Section 8 has been in effect since 1974, created by the Housing Act of 1937. Section 8 is a great way to help out families living in poverty by giving them a reliable place to raise their families (Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, n.d.).
HUD focuses on a wide varieties of interventions designed to help individuals and families facing homelessness, precisely those living in places not meant for habitation, located in sheltering programs, or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. Each year, HUD assists millions of families by providing housing. They help single mothers struggling to provide for their kids in tough situations.
Section 8 also provides information on assistance, single parent help, government help, individual and family resources, and much more to members throughout the nation. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development works hand in hand with property owners to offer reduced rent to low-income families, which can be very beneficial to families living in poverty because it guarantees housing(SPAOA- Government Assistance For Single Parents, n.d.).
As a group, we agree with the policies talked about above. We agree because being a single parent is hard enough, not having the support from the other parent. So having to be a single parent while living in poverty can be very challenging. With policies like TANF and Section 8, wed believe that single mothers living in poverty can receive the assistance needed for them to provide for their families and create a better life and future for them as well!
- (n.d.). Retrieved from SPAOA- Government Assistance For Single Parents.
- CNN. (2013, July 23). CNN’S Don Lemon says more than 72 percent.. Retrieved from @politifact: https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jul/29/don-lemon/cnns-don-lemon-says-more-72-percent-african-americ/
- Featured News. (2019). Retrieved from HUD.gov/ U.S. Department of Housing: httpd://www.hud.gov/
- Florida Food Stamps. (2018). Getting Assistance for Non-Food Items in Florida (TANF) . Retrieved from Florida Food Stamps: https://florida-foodstamps.org/tanf.html
- Grall, T. S. (2009). Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support. United States Census Bureau, 1-13.
- Office of the Adminstration of Children & Familoes. (n.d.). Office of Family Assistance. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ofa/programs/tanf
- Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. (n.d.). Retrieved from NHLP: https://www.nhlp.org/resource-center/section-8-vouchers/
- Single Parenthood And Poverty The Undeniable Connection. (2018, March 16). Retrieved from Investor’s Buusiness Daily: https://www.investors.com/politics/columnists/single-parenthood-and-poverty-the-undeniable-connection/
- TANF Policy, Services, and Benefits — TANF Reauthorization. (n.d.). Retrieved from Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse: https://www.opressrc.org/contextual-area-interest-category/tanf-policy-services-and-benefits-tanf-reauthorization