The stress of handling all household expenses alone are daunting and challenging for single women, warranting the need for financial assistance for single mothers. It is important for single mothers to realize that help is available in times of distress. When every dollar you earn is spent before it is received and/or you find yourself needing financial assistance to make ends meet, where can you turn?
1. Local Non-Profit Agencies
Every county has designated agencies that are established to help individuals in times of distress. Local non-profit agencies are equipped to assist single mothers with rent, utility bills, daycare assistance, food, clothing and other necessities. Because they will base the amount of your grant off of your assets and other personal criteria, you will be required to meet with a caseworker who will discuss their program and input your information, including your earned income, proof of residence, past due bills and dependent information. Local non-profit agencies include:
- Department of Human Services
- Department of Social Service - Provides WIC, food stamps, daycare assistance and health care assistance such as Medicaid and Medicare.
- Transportation Assistance
- Soup Kitchen
- Rent assistance
- Free or reduced meals for school-aged children
2. Local Food Bank
Food banks are commonly found in all areas across the nation and can be accessed by anyone in their time of need. Donations come from grocery stores, wholesalers, restaurant owners and individuals. Once the food is brought in, volunteers sort and pack food kits for families in need. Single mothers can apply with their local food bank to receive assistance with obtaining food. In many cases, single mothers who make too much money to receive additional state or federal benefits are able to receive food donations from food banks.
3. Community Churches and Religious Organizations
Some community churches and temples have organized programs to help single mothers and individuals with low incomes. While the requirements may not be as stringent as local organizations, some churches may still want applicants to show documentation to receive assistance. Local churches often have programs in place to help women with shelter, rent payments, utility payments, clothing needs and food attainment. In addition to local food banks, many churches also have food pantries for members of the community that are in need.
4. Federal Assistance Organizations
When you have exhausted your options on a local level, or simply require further help, there are a variety of federal programs designated to help low-income families and single mothers.
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) - A federal assistance program that provides temporary cash assistance and food stamps to single mothers and low-income individuals, showing a need.
- Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) - A federal assistance program that provides assistance with energy-related costs, including paying utility bills, weatherization procedures and/or energy-related home repairs.
5. Grants for Single Mothers
There are a variety of grants available to single mothers who are the primary head of household. Some grants have been established for single mothers furthering their education and others are available to all single mothers meeting necessary criteria. While loans must be paid back, grants do not need to be repaid.
- Institutional grants
- The Women's Opportunity Awards
- Sunshine Lady Foundation