Housing assistance for single mothers with low income is available through several federal, state and local programs.
By learning more about the assistance programs and outreach programs that you may qualify for, you will know where to turn when facing hardship or a financial emergency.
Each program that offers housing help will include specific eligibility requirements that must be met to receive benefits.
The majority of these programs are income-based and allot benefits to qualifying low-income families. However, most programs include additional requirements.
If seeking government housing assistance, it is crucial that you apply for local and state resources as well.
While government programs strive to provide affordable, safe and decent housing opportunities to low-income single parents, assistance is not always available immediately.
1. Learn About Emergency Housing Assistance Resources in Your Local Community
If you require emergency housing assistance, then it is imperative that you apply to any resources that are available within your local community.
In doing so, you will have a higher chance to get through a financial emergency and avoid non-payment evictions.
While many outreach programs offer financial assistance for necessary household expenses, you may also find programs that provide other essential resources, such as:
- Sanitary items.
- Household goods.
- Diapers and baby formula.
Depending on your local community, you will likely find emergency housing assistance through local organizations, church communities and nonprofits.
You can contact assistance programs directly or by referral from one of your local government or state agencies.
To learn more about housing assistance resources within your community, contact your local:
If you are struggling with the cost of food, you can also contact your local food bank.
Not only do food banks provide food assistance to single-parent families, but may be able to refer you to additional resources.
2. How to Qualify for Government Housing Assistance
Government housing assistance programs are designed to assist low-income families to find affordable, safe and decent housing opportunities, regardless of income status.
The two most extensive housing programs within the United States are provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Section 8 housing, also called the Housing Choice Voucher Program, reduces qualifying households’ monthly rental costs.
Program benefits are paid directly to a participating landlord to minimize the benefiting family’s rental costs each month.
The Public Housing Program provides qualifying families, seniors and disabled persons with affordable housing opportunities that are owned by the state.
These properties are listed at a monthly cost that is well below the cost of housing within the community.
Both of these HUD programs assist with the housing costs of qualifying low-income families, seniors and disabled individuals.
As a single parent, you may qualify as a family, so long as you have at least one dependent child living within your home.
In addition to household composition, applicants must meet other eligibility requirements, including those related to:
- Annual household income.
- U.S. citizenship or immigration status qualifications.
- Other local factors.
These government housing assistance programs can only provide benefits to low and very-low-income applicants.
Therefore, you must meet income guidelines to receive benefits. Income limits are based upon the median income for a community.
You can apply for both of these HUD programs by contacting your local Public Housing Agency.
If approved for benefits, you will be placed upon a waiting list until additional housing or funds become available.
In some cases, your PHA may be able to provide you with immediate assistance.
3. How to Find Housing Assistance for Utility Costs
If you require housing assistance related to the cost of your utilities, you may qualify for financial aid from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Depending on the state you live in, your local LIHEAP office may be able to provide you with:
- A one-time grant towards your utility bill.
- Emergency funds to avoid a utility shut-off.
- The cost of small weatherization projects to reduce future utility expenses.
While LIHEAP eligibility requirements vary between states, the program is primarily income-based. However, funding is limited and only 20 percent of qualifying households can typically receive assistance from LIHEAP.
Therefore, it is crucial that you apply for help as soon as you know you need it.
4. How to Recover from a Disaster with FEMA Housing Assistance
FEMA housing assistance is crucial when recovering from a natural disaster after the U.S. president has declared an area as a disaster zone.
FEMA assists qualifying citizens with financial grants through the Individuals and Households Program (IHP).
Depending on the damage done to your home, you may qualify for compensation towards the cost of:
- Short-term lodging expenses.
- Temporary housing.
- Repair or replacement of your home.
- Other expenses related to the disaster, such as clean-up or medical expenses.
You may qualify for housing assistance following a natural disaster if you meet all of the following qualifications:
- You are a U.S. citizen or you have a qualifying immigration status.
- You have experienced losses to your primary home related to the natural disaster that took place.
- Due to the damages done to your home, you are unable to live in or access your home.
- You do not have homeowner’s insurance or your insurance will not cover all of the expenses.
After a natural disaster, you can apply for assistance from FEMA online or by contacting the FEMA helpline at (800) 621-3362.
If you require additional resources, FEMA can direct you to local programs within your community that may be able to assist.
5. How to Get Housing Help When Searching for Affordable Housing
HUD-approved housing counselors offer housing help to low-income single parents who are searching for affordable housing opportunities.
In most cases, services are free as most HUD-approved counselors are part of nonprofit organizations.
In addition to assisting you in finding affordable housing, a housing counselor can provide additional benefits, including:
- Assistance with budgeting.
- Referrals to other resources that you may qualify for.
You can find a HUD-approved housing counselor in your community online or calling (800)-569-4287.