|Written by Linda Kinyon|
You won't hear much about it, but they are there. Lurking on the edge of society. A displaced homemaker. A largely overlooked group of women of all ages that have lost their primary source of income through any number of causes such as death, divorce, domestic violence or even incarceration.
Step 1: It can be a scary world for a displaced homemaker. The woman will need a lot of emotional support. You can help by being supportive and offering suggestions and assistance to her. Above all, be a friend to this woman in time of need. Be supportive and help her learn to do for herself.
Step 2: Call your local Social and Health Services to see what programs they offer to assist displaced homemakers. Make an appointment immediately to get into a program and work forwards from there. Go with your friend to her appointment and be supportive and encouraging. Often the first few steps are the most frightening.
Step 3: Keep your eyes and ears open. You may be able to locate any other programs that are available in your area to assist displaced homemakers. Whether from abuse, divorce, death or incarceration this is a serious time in this woman;s life and an emergency situation.
Step 4: Look online for other resources for the displaced homemakers. There are scholarships available and other resources to assist women in getting back on their feet financially. Offer to assist her in filling out information and getting needed documents. Don't forget to check local colleges for classes for displaced homemakers. Often these are free and your friend will meet others in the same situation.
Step 5: Contact local churches and see if they have any assistance they can offer. Often churches know of jobs or other resources that can assist in getting one back on ones feet. Some churches even have programs that can assist the woman for a few months. It never hurts to ask.
Step 6: Help the woman to liquidate what assets she may have in order to survive financially. Including yard sales (letting go of the past may be difficult but it will help her financially and letting go can be a positive healing experience), selling off burial plots and in case of the death of a loved one, benefit fund raisers. Don't forget if a loved one has died there may be life insurance and Social Security that she may be able to collect. Don't forget if she is nearing retirement age she also may have benefits coming to her from previous employment where she had a 401K plan or a similar retirement plan. Look into all possibilities.
Step 7: A woman who used to stay at home homemaking has many many skills that can be utilized in the public job sector. Help her sit down and list what she does and doesn't like. This can include housekeeping, laundry, cooking, gardening, child care and more. Perhaps she is good at organizing or even budgeting. She may even be a great party planner. Did she often help children with homework? Perhaps she can tutor or become a teachers assistant. If she managed the bills consider that also. After listing skills she can determine those which she feels more comfortable with. There are many avenues one can follow when one considers all of the life experience one has had. She may even be able to create her own job with her skills.
Step 8: Attend job fairs when they are available. Network with friends in the workforce. Ask everyone you know if they know of anyone who is hiring. Often the best jobs are found this way and are not advertised.
Step 9: If your friend is not involved in a church or synagogue, you might consider suggesting to her that she become involved. It will help her to center herself and focus more on recovering than dwelling on her situation. Plus she may meet new people that can assist her in her job search or recovery from her emotional trauma. Making new friends perhaps with kids the same ages will also be a possibility here.
Step 10: Consider less expensive accommodations if necessary, or perhaps she lives near a college and can rent a room out to a college student to help her income. There are many opportunities available so be sure to consider as many as you can think of.
Step 11: Don't forget to get her signed up at the local food bank and/or Angel food ministries so that she can have groceries for her family. Often the grocery budget is cut severely during these times. Even a small garden plot can help in this department.