Disclosure: Single Mom Defined is partnering with YWCA Greater Pittsburgh to connect moms and families to affordable, quality child care and housing options. While this is a sponsored post, all opinions and text are our own.

Mamas, three things we know for sure. We need safe, affordable housing, high-quality child care, and stable jobs with equitable pay. But unfortunately, for many, this is a dream, not a reality. Single Mom Defined is determined to connect families with the resources they need to not only survive but also thrive. And how do we make this happen right here in our backyard? By partnering with organizations like the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, which are committed to making the Pittsburgh region the best place for families, especially single moms, to live and grow. Through leadership and advocacy, YWCA programs aim to support you in securing housing, accessing quality early learning facilities, receiving equitable pay, and more. 

Moms, if you’re in the process of looking for housing and childcare, we have a list of tips and questions to keep in mind during your search. 

YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Supports Single Moms

Securing Housing and Childcare Checklist

YWCA Greater Pittsburgh supports single moms with housing, childcare and equsl pay advocacy.

What Are Your Needs? 

Think about the most important things you need in and outside of your home. Consider things such as storage space, number of bathrooms, energy efficiency, and backyard size. Then think about what you need in your community. Quality childcare and schools? Public transportation? Other amenities, like grocery stores and sidewalks? Now is the time to make a list of your family’s needs and some of your wants in your future neighborhood. Ask yourself what will make your day-to-day life feel manageable, happy, and fulfilling. 

Do You Need Early Learning and Child Care Services? 

Alongside safe and secure housing, another priority for single mothers is finding a place in close proximity to early learning and child care centers. No parent should have to worry about being able to access and afford childcare. YWCA Greater Pittsburgh believes high-quality early learning is the catalyst for opportunities for students, their families, and their entire communities. In fact, the organization doesn’t just talk the talk. They walk the walk by discounting tuition for the children of employees. YWCA GP operates Early Learning Centers that offer infant and toddler care, Pre-K counts, and summer camps. The Early Learning Centers are rated Keystone Star 4, the highest rating possible in Pennsylvania. The centers’ educators undergo anti-racism training through the University of Pittsburgh P.R.I.D.E. (Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education) program. They also build community through employing a dedicated Family Engagement Specialist and working with the P.R.I.D.E. program to deliver extra support for Black parents to help students develop a positive view of their heritage and community. Additionally, YWCA GP child care workers apply the principles of Conscious Discipline, an evidence-based and trauma-informed approach to learning.

What is Your Budget?

Based on your current income, what can you reasonably afford? Consider your entire monthly budget, including rent, telephone, utilities, groceries, clothing, car notes, and any other monthly bills. We recommend not budgeting in child support if you receive it since it can change if your child’s father changes or loses his job. Once you determine what you can afford, it’s time to research programs that help you look for housing in the best neighborhood for your family. There are online resources available to calculate your monthly spending and budget. 

Download the Single Moms Secure Housing and Child Care Checklist

Secure housing and child care checklist for single moms.

Research Programs

Are there any organizations in your area that assist with locating housing? Any programs or county services that offer vouchers for housing? Research what’s available and what the steps are for applying for those programs. The Single Mom Defined Resource Directory has a list of housing assistance programs available in the area, including YWCA GP programs. 

For decades, YWCA GP has offered programs that connect qualified individuals and families to safe, affordable, and supportive housing. YWCA Greater Pittsburgh works through Allegheny Link to provide supportive housing, such as rapid re-housing and transitional housing, to help individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency. Contact them immediately if you are experiencing homelessness, at risk of homelessness, or dealing with domestic abuse. The YWCA also operates YW Homes, Inc., which connects moms to affordable options. regardless of if they qualify for Section 8 vouchers. YW Homes consists of ten single-family homes located in Baldwin, Brentwood, Edgewood, Ingram, and Swissvale.

Find and Visit Housing Options 

Once you know your needs, budget, and program eligibility, it’s time to find your new place. Many programs, including the Community Choice Demonstration (CCD) program, a federal program, help families with housing choice vouchers find homes in areas with more amenities, high-quality schools, and low crime rates. Oftentimes these areas have not been readily available to families with housing vouchers. Some property owners are not aware of voucher programs and the benefits they provide to both families and owners. CCD not only informs families of their options, but it also provides comprehensive services, such as individualized coaching for families to remove barriers in accessing opportunity neighborhoods, search assistance, funding to cover security deposits, application fees and transportation costs, and owner Incentives. The program coordinators also check in with owners following the move to ensure things are going smoothly and troubleshoot challenges.

This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

The program also educates and offers financial incentives and lease bonuses to landlords. CCD staff also works with families and property owners to facilitate good tenant-owner matches and positive relationships between them.

CCD Program Success Story 

Sara, a local single mother, was living in a home with ongoing issues, including a kitchen she could not fully use due to a leaking ceiling that her landlord refused to fix. Sara’s son was also experiencing academic, social, and bullying issues at the neighborhood school. Sara wanted a better option for her family; however, her low credit score prevented her from moving to a neighborhood with more opportunities. That’s when Sara enrolled in the YWCA’s Community Choice Program. 

Through the Community Choice Program, Sara received credit counseling and participated in workshops for renters seeking housing. Working with a program housing coach, Sara obtained a moving voucher. Her leasing coordinator helped her find a new home that accepted her Housing Choice Voucher. 

Through Sara’s determination and the guidance from the Community Choice Program staff, Sara was able to settle into a safe new home in a neighborhood with great schools. 

Prepare to Move into Your New Home 

Before moving into your new home, make a list of all the things you need to do and items you need. Make your list and then determine the cost and if you will need assistance. Here are some things to consider to get you started on your list. 

  • Do you need to take time off of work? 
  • Need childcare in the evenings or weekends while you pack?
  • Will you hire a moving company or recruit family and friends to help you move?
  • What items will you need immediately?
    • Food/groceries 
    • Phone/internet access
    • Utility connections
    • Furniture
    • Appliances
    • Bedding, washcloths, towels, etc. 
    • Toiletries
    • Cleaning supplies 

Practice Self Care

Changes are hard, especially when you’re caring for children. The tips above are meant to help you navigate those changes with the least stress possible. Remembering to give yourself grace and taking care of yourself is important too. Having a self-care routine that helps you reduce stress and worry, like keeping a journal to let your thoughts out, deep breathing, or talking it out with a confidant or mental health professional. Your goal of providing safety and care for yourself and your family is worthy and worth fighting for. 

Advocate for Pay Equity 

At the most immediate level, housing and childcare directly impact the lives of single moms in our community. Support of these two basic rights must include a conversation about secure jobs and equitable pay. A living wage is critical for moms to afford housing and childcare. Pay equity is one of the ways to ensure single moms access and sustain quality child care and housing. The YWCA Level Up Pay Equity Pledge seeks to have companies take the pledge and commit to pay transparency during hiring, fair hiring processes, annual diversity training, annual reviews of gender and race pay differences, and reviewing policies and practices for compliance with The National Labor Relations Act of 1935. This commitment by companies and employers means single mothers seeking employment can depend on equitable pay that will directly help them keep stable housing and childcare. 

Want to share your story about obtaining child care, housing or equal pay? Email us at hello@singlemomdefined.com or join our Facebook group.