Have you worked in the home for a number of years and, due to divorce, separation, death or disability of a spouse or partner, now find yourself as the primary source of household income? Or are you underemployed and unable to support yourself and/or your children after having lost your primary source of income? Do you need to return to the workforce or obtain a better paying job to support you and your children? If you said yes to any of these questions, then you may be a Displaced Homemaker.
Displaced homemaker programs help women like you obtain or upgrade skills for today's labor market. The goal is to help you become economically self-sufficient by providing education, job readiness training, networking, outreach, referrals and emotional support. Local program centers draw on a wide range of contacts within your community to aid Displaced Homemakers like you in finding the assistance you need.
To find a Displaced Homemaker Center near you, go to the DHN Center page.
The mission of the Displaced Homemakers Network of New Jersey, Inc. a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition, is to advocate for the needs of the Displaced Homemakers Centers and the women they serve.
Displaced Homemakers Centers provide outreach, intake and orientation, personal and group counseling, assessment and testing, career and educational programs, computer training, life skills development, in-demand job skills training, pre-employment preparation, supportive services, English as a second language, referrals and job placement. Today there are currently 22 centers in New Jersey's 21 counties.
The Displaced Homemakers centers, with their varied services, are designed to enhance the employ-ability and earnings of women thus impacting the quality of their lives and those of their families. Displaced Homemakers Center coordinators/directors draw on a wide range of contact within their communities to help individuals find the assistance that they need.
With supportive counseling and training, a Displaced Homemaker is assisted in reaching her full potential. She can gain a heightened awareness of her untapped talents, greater confidence in her own abilities and new skills to meet the challenges of today's labor market. With these improvements, she gains economic and emotional self-sufficiency for herself and her family.
Displaced homemakers come from a wide range of age, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. New Jersey has more than 750,000 Displaced Homemakers between the ages of 30 and 66, and ranks 8th in the number of Displaced Homemakers in the nation.
In the 1970s, the national divorce rate rose rapidly, as reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Women who had worked primarily in the home, raising a family, suddenly faced the daunting task of obtaining or updating skills and re-entering the workforce. In 1979, the New Jersey Displaced Homemakers Act was signed into law by then governor, Brendan Byrne. The Act did not appropriate funding, but mandated that action be taken to address the issue of Displaced Homemakers.
In 1982, the Vocational Division of the New Jersey Department of Education appropriated startup funds for six Displaced Homemakers centers. Six pilot centers were established across the state to provide counseling and training, and to address the barriers faced by these women.
In 1983, a group of service providers, representing nine Displaced Homemakers centers, met to discuss issues facing Displaced Homemakers and the centers. The funding of these centers by the Department of Education and the Department of Labor was being threatened. Recalling the slogan of "foremother," Tish Sommers, "Don't agonize; organize," we organized. Centers met with the Division on Women. We held meetings. We wrote and approved bylaws. A nominating committee presented the slate of officers. In January 1984, the first meeting of the Displaced Homemakers Network of New Jersey was held at the Lawrenceville Public Library. In June 1984, New Jersey hosted its first three-day Region II Conference at Douglass College.
In 1990, the Network incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. After less than five years, the Displaced Homemakers Network of New Jersey, Inc. succeeded in its effort to have legislation passed to increase the divorce filing fee by $25. In June 1993, Governor Florio signed this legislation into law. It generates approximately $600,000 annually for Displaced Homemakers programs.
With the help and hard work of the Displaced Homemakers Network of New Jersey, Inc., the line item was increased from $985,000 to $1,475,000 in fiscal year 2001. These same women worked to increase the line item again from $985,000 to $1,420,000 for the fiscal year 2002.
In 2017, funds were increased and capped at $150,000/center across the state. The extra funds are designated for education grants for Displaced Homemakers. Operating budgets were not increased.
On January 28, 2013, Governor Chris Christie signed a bipartisan resolution into law to designate May as Displaced Homemakers Awareness month.
Is there an income requirement for Displaced Homemakers seeking services through New Jersey’s Displaced Homemakers Centers? No, there are no income eligibility requirements for Displaced Homemakers needing assistance from the State’s Displaced Homemakers Centers. As Displaced Homemakers, 7 out of 10 women live below the poverty line. Before becoming Displaced Homemakers, most were considered middle class.
Where does New Jersey rank with respect to the number of Displaced Homemakers? New Jersey ranks 8th nationally in the number of Displaced Homemakers.
Are there a lot of Displaced Homemakers in New Jersey? New Jersey currently has more than 750,000 Displaced Homemakers eligible for service through the State’s Displaced Homemakers Centers.
How many Displaced Homemakers centers are there in New Jersey? There are currently 22 Displaced Homemakers centers in New Jersey’s 21 counties.
Are Displaced Homemakers at a disadvantage in the job market? Many Displaced Homemakers are able to find jobs but are vastly over-represented in low-paying service occupations with few, if any, benefits. Low-income jobs keep many Displaced Homemakers and their children within the poverty guidelines even though they are working.
Do all Displaced Homemakers have children? No, but the average Displaced Homemakers has 2 or more children.
Is there a connection between Displaced Homemakers and domestic violence? Displaced homemakers are not necessarily victims of domestic violence, however, many are women who are escaping abusive relationships but do not want to be labeled as victims of physical and/or emotional abuse.