*Note* This scheduling program was not designed by folks who do a lot with APA Style and unfortunately it defaults to listing authors in alphabetical order. We cannot fix this for this online schedule, but the author orders are posted in the order submitted in the printed program available via pdf here.
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Sunday, March 8 • 8:30am - 9:45am
Ending Family Homelessness: Formerly Unhoused Mothers’ Policy Recommendations

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Homelessness among female-headed families in the United States is increasing. Up from 1 percent in the 1980s, families now comprise 38 percent of the unhoused population (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2013). Structural inequities – poverty, low wages, domestic violence, and lack of affordable housing and foreclosures – are root causes of homelessness among women with children (U.S. Housing and Urban Development, 2012). Yet, ameliorative institutional initiatives remain underfunded or absent. Compounding this policy gap is silence within political and media arenas; family homelessness, and specifically women’s narration of their own experiences, is underrepresented in mainstream analyses of social and economic marginalization. Unhoused women with children report feeling that policymakers and people in positions of authority do not understand homelessness and that policy initiative too often focus on changing individual women rather than economic conditions (Averitt, 2003; Cosgrove & Flynn, 2005; DeWard & Moe, 2010). What policies do unstably housed mothers’ perceive as effective in reducing family homelessness? As part of a larger study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 28 formerly homeless mothers to better understand their experiences of being unhoused and the economic and housing policies they believed would most help their own and other similarly situated families. All respondents had lived in residential family shelters with their children within the past two years. Our informants consistently described scant resources and overburdened systems despite being told that that supportive services were available. Respondents identified a core set of practices for retaining (e.g., rental assistance programs, more affordable housing units) and securing housing (e.g., help navigating rental markets, security deposit cash assistance). Our findings underscore the importance of including mothers’ voices in housing policy discussions.

Sunday March 8, 2015 8:30am - 9:45am PDT
Gold Rush A