b'INCLUDING EVERYONE IN THE REGIONAL ECONOMYRELIABLE TRANSPORTATION IS HARD TO FINDCommuting shouldnt mean walking several miles to the nearest bus stop. Beginning in 2007, the Port Authority of Allegheny County cut service and increased fares. As a result, half of its existing bus routes vanished. For single mothers, rising rents force them further out into the suburbs and exacerbate transportation problems. The Foundation has approved a $27,665 grant to Allegheny Family Network for shuttle service in Natrona, Natrona Heights, Brackenridge and Tarentum. The three-day-a-week bus provides transportation for single mothers and their children with stops that include grocery stores, libraries and doctors offices.A BIGGER PAYCHECK CAN CUT INTO ESSENTIAL BENEFITSExperts call it the cliff effect: Even at minimum wage, working more hours can push incomes over federal Reliable andincome guidelines, and the higher paycheck often affordable child care is onedoesnt make up for the value of supports. This can of the areasstruggle to afford safe housing. And racial disparitiesresult in the sudden cutoff of public benefits such as that singlepersist: 56% of Black family households are headedsubsidized child care, health insurance, and housing mothers reportby a single mother, compared to 16% of white familyor food assistance. as essential to theirhouseholds in Allegheny County.advancementToday, 64% of all single mothers are workforceThe Foundation has convened an advisory group of single out of poverty.participants, and 48% have some post-secondary edu- mothers to ensure that its grant-making and policy efforts Providencecation. Yet, the Foundations research shows there areoffer new approaches. Three grants totaling $210,000 Connections is a Northstill plenty of barriers to advancement: have recently been awarded to organizations focusing on Sidebasedwomen in poverty: one to the Womens Center & Shelter family supportHIGH-QUALITY CHILD CARE IS SCARCE AND EXPENSIVE of Greater Pittsburgh to support emergency shelter and organizationFor years, a growing demand among working womenonsite child care; another to Human Services Center offeringservices thatfor affordable, high-quality child care has outstrippedCorporation to fund a program that helps women build include childavailability. Cara Ciminillo directs Trying Together,practical skills for advancing out of poverty; and the care for childrenthe regional early education nonprofit. Ciminillothird to Bethlehem Haven, a womens shelter, to assist ages six weekswas one of 17 community leaders who helped guidethose facing eviction. to 13years. the Foundations qualitative research study on thePeople most impacted by poverty should be at the conditions that single mothers face.center of finding solutions, says Michelle McMurray, Many single mothers rely on subsidies to affordthe Foundations director of grantmaking for Children, child care, says Ciminillo, but few state- and county-Youth and Families. When their voices are included, we subsidized spots are available. Among the Foundationsare more likely to employ strategies that have a better grants in this area is a $75,000 award to North Sidebasedchance of supporting the hopes and dreams of them nonprofit Providence Connections to subsidize theand their children. cost of child care for low-income families in its early childhood education program.Christine OToole is a freelance writer.40'