Women and families in America are often one life-changing event away from poverty. After experiencing sudden unemployment, a health emergency, or the loss of a spouse, women find themselves with few resources to turn to for support. That's one of the reasons why in 2012, 14.5 percent of American women lived in poverty, compared to 11 percent of men.
In an effort to keep this number from increasing, the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, Neighborhood Legal Services Association and Pennsylvania Women Work recently collaborated to form a new initiative aimed at women facing sudden economic distress. Funded by the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of Allegheny County, the Women’s Empowerment Initiative is designed to connect women to services to help them avoid falling into poverty.
“Often times women who find themselves accessing services for the first time, have no idea where to go,” says Monique McIntosh, senior director of programs for the YWCA Pittsburgh. “We thought it would be a great idea to streamline the process for accessing services.”
Through the Women’s Empowerment Initiative, women walking into any of the three partner agencies will have access to free legal advice and representation; job readiness and training programs; and housing, childcare, healthcare and public benefits on site.
“Women face barriers to accessing services including transportation,” McIntosh says.”A while we’re finding that when women go from agency to agency they get frustrated and they no longer seek the services they need.”
For more information, contact the Women’s Empowerment Initiative at 412-255-1488, ywcapgh.org/wrc or firstname.lastname@example.org.