“Policy gap… Points out, “Prevent return to family of origin.”
30% of single parents “don’t know about housing and housing expenses support”
“Need to closely understand the actual situation considering reality”
A (26), a single mother living in Seoul, left her newborn daughter in a foster home. She wanted to stay with her child, but she did not have a home of her own. He sent her daughter away, promising to live with her again as long as her debt was paid. However, even though she lived in a studio apartment with her friend and saved a lot of money, it was difficult for her to raise a deposit for rent. Even though she missed her now 4-year-old daughter, she was unable to bring her child to her side as stable housing was difficult.
Meanwhile, Mr. A learned that ‘single-parent families’ receive the first priority in applying for public rental housing under the Seoul Housing and Communities Corporation (SH). A single-parent family refers to a father or mother raising a child alone. In the metropolitan area, you can receive up to 145 million won in rent support and only have to pay a 5% deposit. However, the fact that Ms. A and her daughter were not living together was an obstacle. Because the child was entrusted at least temporarily, they were not recognized as single parents.
As in Mr. A’s case, it was found that under current laws, if a single parent leaves their child in a facility or foster home, they cannot receive public rental housing support for single-parent families. It is pointed out that loopholes in policies that do not properly consider the reality of single-parent families are preventing children subject to protection from returning to their families of origin.
According to the 2021 survey conducted by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family on the 13th, 34.3% of the 3,300 single parents who responded to the government’s single-parent housing support policy did not even know about the existence of single-parent family welfare facilities. Additionally, 16.1% of respondents responded that they were not aware of housing support such as public rental or public sale, and 15.1% were unaware of housing cost support.
Even though there is a policy to support single parents, it seems that there are many cases where they are unaware of this and end up separating from their children due to immediate financial difficulties. According to statistics from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, out of 2,289 children eligible for protection who went to facilities or foster homes in 2022, 139 experienced separation due to poverty or unemployment of their parents.
Even if you know the system, if you cannot find a place to stay with your children even temporarily, you will not be able to receive the benefits. In Ms. A’s case, she barely qualified because the single mothers’ network provided her with emergency housing where she could temporarily live with her children. It was only after three months of joining that Mr. A was able to apply for public rental housing and prepare a place to stay with his daughter last January. It is rare to find temporary shelter like Mr. A in situations where children are entrusted due to lack of money.
Legislative researcher Heo Min-sook said, “There are quite a few cases where parents who work at restaurants or factories, while eating and sleeping in dormitories attached to gosiwons or workplaces, try to bring their children from facilities or foster homes. However, they are not recognized as a single-parent family because they are separated (from their children). “There is,” he pointed out. Investigator Heo emphasized, “If we have not been able to prevent a child from being separated from his or her parents due to an inability to find a place to live, we must provide support so that single parents who are willing to raise the child can find a place to live, even after death.”
Some say that monitoring single parents who are separated from their children is important in order to provide substantial support for single-parent families. “The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family conducts a survey on the status of single-parent families every three years, but those who entrust their children are excluded from the survey,” said Yoo Mi-sook, director of external cooperation at the Single Mothers’ Network. “A more thorough understanding of the status of single-parent families is needed, taking into account the reality of single-parent families.” emphasized.
Reporter Junho Yoon [email protected]
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