According to a 2017 report by the Census Bureau, there are roughly 12 million single-parent households in the United States, with 80% of them being single mothers households. In New Orleans, 61% of children live in households headed by a single parent. These families face higher rates of food insecurity and poverty while simultaneously dealing with the stigmatization around lacking a live-in partner.
A single parent working 40 hour weeks at the minimum wage of $7.25/hour would make roughly $15,600 a year, just slightly above the average rent of an apartment in New Orleans- $13,415 a year. Experts recommend that your rent should not take up over 30% of your income. In this very common scenario, rent would take up 86% of a families income, leaving only $2,185 leftover for food expenses, childcare, transportation, insurance, discretionary funds, etc.. This lack of income in combination with the rising cost of living leaves single-parent families with difficult decisions: picking between groceries or medication, choosing either the heat or water bill.
The hardships of families living off of one income don’t stop at monetary worries. Members of single-parent homes, both children and parents, experience higher rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, social isolation, stress, and anxiety. Parents regularly suffer from self-doubt; lacking confidence in their parental decisions and feeling guilty when asking for help. Children face higher rates of low self-esteem, difficulty socializing, and poor academic performance which many psychologists attribute to lack of a larger parental support system.
Gladewaves recognizes the economic and emotional stresses single-family homes face and created HandUp! to alleviate a portion of these burdens. HandUp! provides families and individuals moving from transitional housing into permanent housing with startup housewares including items like kitchen appliances, linens, plate ware, etc.. These kits, valued at $500, are often given to single-parent homes, honoring Gladewaves fundamental beliefs: that all people have the right to food, shelter, education, companionship, and the tools necessary to ensure a productive life.