Women’s Poverty Report

Women in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) is a trade association with an aim to equip women with the tools they need for economic growth, expansion and sustainability. An ally in promoting women-owned businesses and housing, NAWRB is the only third-party industry-specific certifier of Women-Owned Businesses (WOB) and Minority Women-Owned Businesses (MWOB) in the housing and real estate ecosystem.

Women’s Homeownership Initiative
NAWRB’s National Women’s Homeownership Initiative (WHI) is uniquely positioned to positively impact the female homeownership rate across the nation, offset women’s poverty levels and cement women’s personal and professional strides. WHI brings a collective national voice to women’s issues, including homeownership and poverty data specific to women and struggling mothers.

According to 2014 Census Bureau data, there are 18,057,000 female homeowners in the United States. Ten million live alone, 6.7 million live with relatives without a husband present and 1.3 million live in two-or-more person households.

Additional Census Bureau data indicates more than 1 in 4 families with children under the age of 18 are headed by a single parent and more than 3 out of 4 single parent families are headed by a female. In the U.S., 29 percent of families headed by women with no husband present live below the poverty level and of these households, 39.2 percent have children under 18 years of age and 43.9 percent have children under five. The economic challenge of living in financially underprivileged states has profound negative effects on these children and plays a major role in preventing their mothers from living above the poverty line and ultimately transitioning into homeownership.

Women’s purchasing power and financial literacy must remain at the epicenter of the women’s homeownership discussion. From struggling to obtain a mortgage to living in poverty and being incapable of viewing homeownership as viable, the financial outlook for many women is bleak and burdensome. With a pervasive gender wage gap of 27 percent and lack of advancement in hierarchy, this disparity significantly impacts women’s abilities to move out of shelters, incur savings and secure a home to call their own, as their paychecks don’t travel nearly as far as men’s.

Apart from these women living in poverty, inability to purchase homes has given rise to a new trend of women opting to live with their families instead of living alone. In 1940, 36.2 percent of women aged between 18 and 34 lived with their family, parents or other relatives excluding their spouse. In 2014, 36.4 percent of women were still living with their families, an increase from 75 years ago.

Of Goals and Partnership

Our immediate goal is to raise awareness of women’s poverty while our long-term goal is to build strategic partners who can provide real solutions to move the needle in the right direction. One potential idea is house sharing, not administered by the government and using properties from large management portfolios. By not using regulated entities, it opens the flexibility and stronger commitment to give back women, to the largest population in our nation.

By disseminating information through our WHI events, media platforms, strategic partners including government agencies and our international magazine, we will raise the awareness of the inequalities endured by women and communicate the importance and profound effect of women’s poverty levels coupled with women’s homeownership. Collectively we can create the awareness to institute change in the right direction for women living below the poverty line.

Women Helping Women

Former NAWRB Board Member Sandra Verdugo does her part in the community by bringing comfort to the homeless.