Hayley Wise has had to move houses four times in the last 12 years that she’s been a home-based child care provider.
Every time she’s moved, Wise’s rent has gone up. Every time she’s moved, she’s had to restart the daunting search for a sympathetic landlord who will rent to her even though she is licensed to have up to 14 young children in her care each day. Every time she’s moved, she’s wondered how she will keep this up — the relocating, the rebuilding that inevitably follows — as she ages.
Wise is one of more than 1.1 million paid providers — a population that is overwhelmingly women and disproportionately women of color — who care for children out of their own homes in the United States. She loves her work and adores the children and families she serves. She can’t imagine doing anything else. But the challenges she has faced with housing over the years — finding it, keeping it, shouldering steep and ever-rising rental prices — have taken a toll.
For the last decade, Wise says she has met regularly with other early care and education providers. Whenever someone asks if anyone has a concern they’d like to share, she says she raises her hand and tells them, “Yes. Housing.”