Single mothers, single mother families, housing, affordable housing, low-income neighborhoods, HUD


The location, availability, and quality of housing shapes one's social networks, affects access to jobs, and impacts on social relations within the housing unit. However, access to affordable housing is limited for a significant portion of the population in the urban United States. In this study, I interviewed eighteen African-American and Puerto Rican single mothers in two low-income neighborhoods of Philadelphia about how they create and maintain their housing arrangements. Within the constraints of an affordable housing shortage, women told me how they struggle to share housing with others, rehab abandoned properties, live in substandard housing, and remain in unsafe neighborhoods. Though their strategies allow them to currently retain housing, they are not without costs. Idiscuss these findings using the theoretical framework of social capital.

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