Housing Choice Vouchers provide rent money to low-income families, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Start off the application process by making an appointment with your local public housing agency (PHA.) Your local PHA determines whether or not you qualify, and if so, how much assistance you receive. The PHA will base their decision on your family size and income level, but most agencies require your income to be less than 50% of your community’s median income. You must be a U.S. citizen or hold valid immigration status to qualify.
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)helps families who are struggling to pay their heating, cooling and electricity bills. Your income will have to be around 150% of the poverty line. This criterion can vary by state, as some states have a higher median income than others. Check out the program’s website for more information.
The Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) provides funding to help communities develop public childcare facilities like daycare centers and after-school programs. The CCDF also helps low-income individuals in need of affordable child care. All interested applicants must prove their financial need.
Head Start works with organizations all across the United States to help low-income children get the best possible start in life. To qualify, children must be newborn to 5 years old and come from a financially disadvantaged background. If you’re struggling financially and cannot afford to enroll your child in preschool, Head Start may be a good option for you.
The Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) allows you to take your child care expenses out of your paycheck before taxes. Taking advantage of this program can save you quite a bit of money over time. With the deduction of childcare costs from your declared paycheck, there’s less income to tax. Your wages must be exempt from the FICA payroll tax deduction for you to qualify for the DCAP.
These grants are offered by private foundations, corporations, and other organizations, and have more flexibility than government programs. They are often highly competitive, though, so study the criteria carefully and design your proposal well. They are also often location-specific, so you’ll need to search for opportunities in your area. Here are some examples; you can search for more! Many colleges and universities have scholarship programs, sometimes specifically for single parents, so be sure to ask at your school’s financial aid office. For just one example, Minnesota State University offers the Mary Jane Young Scholarship specifically for single mothers studying full time.
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) offers several grants and fellowships designed to help women advance their education or careers. The AAUW gave away $3.7 million in the 2016-2017 year. Support is available to female US citizens or permanent residents and ranges up to $7,000. It will help to show academic achievement and a record of community activity. Read the project criteria carefully.
The Letters Foundation, established by Warren and Doris Buffet, provides financial assistance to individuals and families in need. The application process is simple. You write them a letter explaining your needs, they read it, and they provide help where they think it will be most useful. That might or might not be you, but it can’t hurt to try.
The Women’s Independence Scholarship Program helps women who have survived domestic violence to improve their education and job prospects. You must be a US citizen, separated from the abusive partner for at least one year, in need, and with a strong desire to succeed.
The Jeanette Rankin Foundation has provided scholarships to over 600 mothers who have no other means of attending college and earning a degree.
Capture the Dream is a San Francisco Bay-area foundation providing scholarships specifically for single parents and minority students.
Emerge provides scholarships to Georgia women who have been forced to interrupt their education and overcome significant obstacles to start it again.
These are only a few examples of the thousands of private and location-based grants available. Search, keep searching, and apply when you find programs that suit your needs and qualifications!
If you are struggling financially, but still earn “too much” to qualify for a grant (or even government benefits like food stamps), you may feel caught between a rock and a hard place. In times of such financial crisis, don’t be ashamed to contact your local community agencies, churches, and charitable organizations. You might be surprised to find out that they offer some valuable temporary assistance.
If all else fails, dial 2-1-1 if you really need assistance with paying your bills. The 2-1-1 service is available 24/7.
The options listed in this article are far from all that’s available to assist you with your financial difficulties. There is truly a wealth of opportunity to help struggling single parents; you just need to know where to look. With this knowledge, you can access the resources that will empower you and your family to survive and thrive!
National Science Foundation Grants
Academic Competitiveness and National SMART Grants
Housing Choice Vouchers
Child Care and Development Fund
Dependent Care Assistance Program
Mary Jane Young Scholarship
American Association of University Women (AAUW)
Women’s Independence Scholarship Program
Jeanette Rankin Foundation
Capture the Dream