If your relationship and financial support are gone, services for displaced homemakers may be able to help

If you’re in dire financial straits because you’ve been abandoned, divorced or widowed, there may be resources in your community to help you.

At last month’s Battered Mothers Custody Conference, I met Nancy Howard, director of the Center for People in Transition at Rowan College in Gloucester County, New Jersey. Her social services agency assists displaced homemakers in becoming self-sufficient.

Nancy told me that displaced homemaker programs are available in all 50 states of the United States. To find them, just Google “displaced homemaker” and the name of your state.

According to People in Transition, a displaced homemaker is someone whose circumstances are described as:

  • The major source of income and financial support is lost through separation, divorce, death or disability of a spouse
  • Emotionally and/or vocationally unprepared to enter the job market
  • Unaware of needed support and referral sources
  • Unemployed or underemployed

The People in Transition program in New Jersey offers the following services, and other programs are similar:


  • Job counseling, training, placement assistance
  • Job development series workshops
  • Education information and services
  • Computer literacy training
  • Assistance with job leads


  • Life skills development through offered workshops
  • Referrals to appropriate services in the area
  • Support groups for separated and divorced people
  • Support groups for widows and widowers


  • Financial management services
  • Basic budgeting workshops


  • Legal information and referrals in the areas of support, parenting, divorce
  • Legal workshops on various related subjects as in demand

Social services

  • Information on local resources
  • Referrals to local agencies when appropriate

Quite frankly, I’d never heard of displaced homemaker programs before I met Nancy. I wish I knew about them before. I’ve spoken to many people whose marriage or relationship with a sociopath fell apart and they needed to figure out how to get on their feet. Now I can tell them where to go

If you’re in a situation where you need job help or other support, look into displaced homemaker services in your area.


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