In Allegheny County, the most recent data indicate that approximately 72% of families living below the poverty line are headed by single women raising children. Across the region and state, thousands of such households may be living on incomes at 25% of the federal poverty level even when they’re receiving cash assistance from the government. In other households, women are working 40 hours or more a week, often at multiple jobs, and still bringing home below-poverty-level income. Over 60% of single mothers living in poverty in Allegheny County live in 10 communities. Almost 30% live in just three places — McKeesport, Penn Hills and Duquesne. The economic and social impact of COVID-19 on families and communities in Allegheny County has been profound and is exacerbating documented race and income disparities.
Because of the systemic barriers that single women raising children encounter in our region, The Pittsburgh Foundation selected this population as one of our targeted focus areas for research and grantmaking. A study published by the Foundation in January 2019, provides insights gathered directly from single mothers about the challenges that they face, the strengths that they rely on to navigate difficulties and recommended improvements to the services and systems that are meant to serve their families, but often leave them feeling that they are in a never-ending cycle of challenges and obstacles. Read the news release about the study.
- Funding for organizations serving single women raising children: New donor raises $30,000 for three nonprofits.
- Anchorpoint Counseling Ministries: Provides after-school care and support to children and single parents.
- Still standing: Single mother Elise McClung launched a self-styled outreach organization called “Still Standing” that offers several support services.
- All-in-one delivery: Providing diapers and economic opportunity for Pittsburghers in need.
- Going it alone: For many single women with children, poverty is just around the corner.
- Journey so strong: Words Without Walls has helped those on society’s margins find their voices and tell their stories.