If you need help with rent, it is worth reviewing the resources that may be available to you through government assistance programs, including the Housing Choice Voucher Program, also known as Section 8. Section 8 rentals are only available to very-low and low-income households and families that meet eligibility requirements related to income, familial makeup and citizenship or immigration status.
If approved for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, your local Public Housing Agency (PHA) would pay a portion of your rental costs to a qualifying landlord on your behalf. You would then only be responsible for paying the difference between your rental amount and the amount that the PHA submits to the landlord each month, while you remain eligible to receive assistance.
By applying for grants for single mothers, you may also drive down your overall household costs. There are a number of different programs that offer supplemental income or other forms of assistance. Each program has its own eligibility requirements, application processes and assistant amounts, so it important to learn about each program, in order to learn how to get assistance in your local area.
Section 8 Rentals
If you need help with rent, take the time to learn about the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Housing Choice Voucher Program serves to provide rental assistance to qualifying families, senior citizens and disabled individuals. While funded by the HUD, the program is administered on a local level through Public Housing Agencies.
Section 8 rentals provide low- and very-low income households to obtain safe, sanitary and decent housing through qualifying apartments, townhomes and single-family homes. In order for a home to be approved for Section 8, the home must be approved by the PHA, and pass an inspection, in order to ensure that the home meets minimum health and safety standards.
Families that live within Section 8 rentals are only responsible for a portion of their rent. The PHA provides monetary rental assistance directly to a landlord on the participating family’s behalf. The family is than responsible for paying the remainder of the rent. Rental assistance amounts are based upon household size and income.
Section 8 housing for rent under the Housing Choice Voucher Program is only available to United States citizen and specific categories of noncitizens with eligible immigration statuses.
In order to qualify, your household must be considered a “family” or have at least one senior citizen or disabled person. To be considered a family, there must be at least one dependent child younger than the age of 18 living within the home.
Your household must also meet the income guidelines for Section 8 rentals, which are determined by the area in which you would like to reside. To qualify, your family’s income cannot exceed 50 percent of the median income for the county or metropolitan area. However, the law requires PHAs to provide at least 75 percent of the available housing vouchers to families with incomes that do not exceed 30 percent of the median income for the metropolitan area or county.
If you need emergency rental assistance, you can contact your local PHA to complete an application. If approved, you will either receive assistance right away, if it is available, or you will be placed on a waiting list. Depending on your neighborhood, waiting lists can be lengthy, and it could take weeks or months to receive assistance. Each PHA will also give priority to certain households, such as priority to households that include at least one qualifying senior citizen.
Finding Section 8 Housing for Rent
Once assistance becomes available, you can search for Section 8 housing for rent by reviewing the qualified rental properties within your area. You can find a more complete list of homes and rental properties that are approved for the Housing Choice Voucher Program by contacting your local PHA. In order for a property to be listed, the landlord of the property must have already applied to participate in the program.
Once you have selection a Section 8 rental, the PHA will conduct an additional inspection on the rental property, in order to verify that the property still meets PHA health and safety standards. You will then be able to sign a lease for the property, and begin making your rental payments.
While receiving assistance from the Housing Choice Voucher Program, you must abide by all Section 8 rules and regulations, in order to maintain your assistance benefits.
Government Grants for Single Mothers
In addition to housing assistance for single mothers with low income, it is worth reviewing the various grants and assistance programs that may be able to relieve some of your family’s monthly expenses. Depending on your circumstances and income level, you may qualify for assistance with the below programs.
In addition to Section 8 rentals assistance for your home, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, offers monthly assistance to help with the costs of food-related expenses.
Monthly assistance amounts are based upon income, applicable expenses and household size. You can contact your local SNAP office for more information and to submit an application.
In addition to emergency rental assistance, you may qualify for emergency government assistance through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which provides food to low income families through food banks and local organizations. In addition to SNAP and TEFAP, The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) offers additional grants for supplemental foods, nutrition education and health care referrals to qualifying:
- Low-income pregnant women.
- Postpartum women.
- Women who are breastfeeding.
- Infants and children up to the age of 5.
Education grants for single mothers
You may qualify to receive financial assistance toward continued education, based upon your income. The Federal Pell Grant offers low-income single mothers and other low-income individuals the opportunity to further their education using grants that do not need to be repaid.
In addition to the Pell Grant, very-low-income students may be eligible for even more assistance through the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant. You can apply for educational grants by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA).
If you need help with rent, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program offers monthly monetary assistance to very-low-income families with dependent children who are younger than the age of 19. Like most government assistance programs, TANF only provides benefits to qualifying U.S. citizens and those with certain immigration statuses. To qualify for monetary assistance, you must meet familial makeup-, state residency-, income- and work-related requirements. The amount of assistance that your family may be eligible to receive is based upon your family size and income.
You can contact your local state agency to receive more information regarding the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
If you are already receiving help with rent through the Housing Choice Voucher Program or food assistance through SNAP or TANF, you may qualify to receive healthcare assistance through Medicaid. Medicaid is available for free or at a very-low cost to qualifying individuals and families. Eligibility requirements include citizenship or immigration status qualifications and income guidelines. In some states, categorical eligibility requirements may also be in place. Coverage benefits and costs vary by state. Therefore, it is important to contact your local state agency, in order to obtain the most up-to-date information about your state program.