single mothers
From: Deborah Greenspan (
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 1996 16:12:38 -0500
Hi.  Thanks for taking a moment to help me with some questions I have about 
cohousing.  I am the founder and a member of an organization called 'Single
Mothers of America' which was created to help single working mothers survive
in a world designed for two parent families.  In general, though we come
from middle class backrounds, because of divorce or death, we have ended up
with most of the responsibility for providing for our children.  Some of us
receive minimal child support; most of us do not receive any.  We work in
order to survive, and, at the same time, we try to provide the emotional
support our children need, and be there for them when they need it.  As you
can imagine, it's not an easy task being both father and mother to your

About 11 years ago, when my first daughter was very young, I started
thinking about the difficulties of raising children in our society, and
wondering how I could do a better job, considering the circumstances.  It
seems that regardless of their marital state, women do most of the work of
childrearing.  Even when a man is in the house, he, very often, has other
concerns.  Thus, the first thing we women learn, when we have children, is
to rely on each other for support.  That's when I began to toy with the idea
of community.  Architecture, I realized, is the drawback.  It's difficult to
be as supportive as we'd like to be when we live in different houses.  When
I became a single mother three years later, and life got even harder, I
began to see, in earnest, that the best way for single mothers to live is
together.  What I conceived was a co-housing community.  

Single mothers generally have few financial resources.  Though we all work,
it's often at low paying jobs, either because we don't have the education
and training to go after those high paying jobs, or because, being single
mothers, we don't have the time.  I, for example, went back to college when
I got divorced, earned a BA and will achieve an MA next spring, but I still
don't have the kind of time available that those high powered corporate jobs
require.  I need to be home a lot.  At this time, I teach.  
I want to create co-housing for single working mothers so we can help each
other with child care, cooking and all the rest and provide the support for
each other that we can't get anywhere else.  I believe this community has to
be established as a 'rent, with option to buy' kind of place, so that
mothers can try it out, and find people with whom they want to live.  I am
looking for two things--a developer who can work with our organization to
design and build this place, and funding or grant money.  I live in south
Florida.  SMA is a 501(c) corporation. Any answers out there?  



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