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Single Mothers Outreach on the mend

• Organization restructured its finances and leadership.

Posted: April 12, 2008 2:15 a.m.
Updated: June 13, 2008 5:03 a.m.
After closing its doors for three months, the struggling Single Mothers Outreach charity is slowly getting back on its feet, board president DaAnne Smith announced this week.

The charity, which has a client list of more than 1,000 Santa Clarita single mothers, laid off all paid staff and suspended services in late October to restructure its finances and leadership. The group was able to resume limited services in February and provide services for 43 of their clients by the end of March, according to Smith's quarterly report.

"We are slowly but surely building back up," she said.

The group, established in 1995, closed its Canyon Country office and is now using donated office space in the Santa Clarita Valley Service Center in Newhall. The group is now run by volunteers.

Smith said it is estimated that more than 6 percent of Santa Clarita Valley households are headed by a female with children under 18 years of age with no husband present.

The organization provides emergency housing and meal assistance, support groups, financial literacy and case management for local single mothers.

In February and March, the majority came seeking housing help, Smith said.

The group recently secured temporary housing and an emergency meal plan for a single mother and daughter who lost their jobs and were "sneaking around, sleeping in corridors" after they were evicted from their apartment.

Though the organization has significantly cut operational costs, the quarterly report shows donations down 77 percent from last year.

"Fundraising is challenging in this present economic climate," Smith said in her report. "The community is saturated with fundraising events and we are looking at alternative ways to raise funds for SMO."

She said the charity will soon apply for additional grants and said she is looking to gain support from as many businesses as possible.

But what the group lacks in funds, it's making up in volunteers, which include clients.

"We're trying to help them find out what their strengths are so they can share with their sisters those gifts so that everybody wins," Smith said.

Single Mothers Outreach is located on the second floor of the Santa Clarita Valley Service Center at 24271 Main Street (formerly San Fernando Road) in Newhall and can be reached at (661) 288-0117.


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