Out in the Open·Audio

'I had no cushion': The stigma of seeking social assistance as a single mother living in poverty

In her 20s, Stephanie Land left an abusive relationship with her infant daughter in tow. But leaving meant going it alone, and struggling to make money as a house cleaner to support her and her child. She tells Piya how the stigma attached to poverty and receiving social assistance prevented her from seeking financial help when she most needed it... and why she thinks we need to stop vilifying people in the situation she once found herself in.

Stephanie Land says she was frequently vilified for needing financial help

After leaving an abusive relationship, Stephanie Land struggled to make ends meet for her and her young daughter. (Ashley Rhian Photography)

This story was originally published on June 7, 2019.

In her 20s, Stephanie Land left an abusive relationship with her infant daughter in tow. But leaving meant going it alone, and struggling to make money as a house cleaner to support her and her child.

She tells Piya how the stigma attached to poverty and receiving social assistance prevented her from seeking financial help when she most needed it... and why she thinks we need to stop vilifying people in the situation she once found herself in.

Land's memoir about this time in her life is called Maid.


This story appears in the Out in the Open episode "Support Systems".

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