When it comes to rental assistance for single mothers, many are faced with huge problems. For most people, renting or buying a house is a necessity especially if you have a family, but what happens when instead of two incomes streaming into the home, there is only one? For a single mother, the problem of affordable housing is a critical one, since without the housing they have no place to nurture their children and help them grow. Finding a house and putting together a budget to keep it running can be one of the most stressful things a single mother can experience. However, the government is able to help single parents with grants so that they can rent the houses they need.
The Availability Of Section 8 Housing
Low income workers, including single mothers, have the option of getting rental assistance from the government in terms of section 8 of the US Housing Act. This Act helps these people by paying their landlords, no matter what kind of place they live in, and whether they decide to stay in one place or move around a lot, as many who are travelling salespeople might do.
In some cases, this assistance is project based, which means that a landlord will reserve a space for those who will receive assistance from the government. The tenant pays some of the rent, while the government makes up the difference. This ensures that no matter how much or how little these single parents earn, they do not end up homeless.
Sadly, not all neighborhoods have section 8 housing, and the ones that do, may not be the types of neighborhoods in which children should be raised, although there is a minimum housing standard that these properties have to meet. This form of assistance is a short term fix to a long term problem and is intended for those single parents who need a little help at a specific time, until they can help themselves.
In the case of an emergency, such as when a parent has left an abusive relationship with their children, emergency rental assistance can be applied for from certain charities, including the Salvation Army. In this case, the charity will generally help the single parent with money for a rental, or help them meet their mortgage commitments. Of course, this is a Band-Aid for an emergency situation, and is not a long term fix.
Rental Assistance For Single Mothers And Other Grants
There are many government grants available for single mothers, besides the usual housing grants. In fact, single mothers hoping to go to college, put their kids in daycare or even get support in an emergency will find that there is a lot of help available. Some of these grants include:
- Grants for housing – getting a grant for housing can mean the difference between being on the street and being comfortable for some single mothers. For many, a single income is just not enough to pay for expenses such as kids’ educations, food and rent. That is why the government and many private facilities will assist single mothers with paying their rent.
- Study grants – One of the most important things a single mother can do is improve her life situation. However, to do this, a mother must become more educated and potentially earn a degree which is expensive. The government and some college foundations will provide single mothers with a way of studying and improving their life situations.
- Daycare grants – For a woman who has to go out to work, leaving kids with a friend or neighbor is sometimes not an option. That is why the government sometimes provides daycare grants, so that mothers know their children are taken care of while they are working.
The Focus Of Housing Assistance
Rental assistance for single mothers could make the difference between surviving and thriving. Because a single mother has so much to do and so little time to do it all in, having the extra concern of housing may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. However, with federal government grants and housing programs, they no longer have to worry about the state of their home.
Of course, being eligible for these programs depends on your financial situation and the state you live in, but some of the best include:
- Hope for Homeowners – Passed by Congress in 2008, this program helps single mothers get a 30 year fixed mortgage. While you may think that buying a house should not be first on the list of priorities for a single mother, it is important since they need to think long term about where their children will grow up, and the amount of money they will pay to buy versus the amount they will pay to rent.
- 211 – 211 Is a service that helps single mothers find affordable houses, and it is simple to access. To get the help, all you need to do is dial 211. The program then helps you find a home, but that’s not all. 211 Also recommends addiction treatment centers for teens, help centers for elderly parents and all manner of support groups for single mothers who need support.
- The Housing Choice Voucher Program – Discussed earlier, Section 8 helps single mothers with assistance in renting or buying houses. This is essentially a part of the voucher program, and assists single mothers with subsidizing their rent payments.
- Housing Program per state – Each state will have its own requirements and grants to help single mothers, and to take advantage of these, you need to check how you fit in with your government’s program. All states are given a budgetary amount for grants, and they split this according to what their voters need. As a citizen of a particular state, you need to ensure that you know what is available to help you, if you are a single mother.
- Shelter Plus Care Program – This program has been designed with single mothers who have a disability in mind. In these situations, single mothers may not be able to work or may be held back by their disability. This program provides them with houses and other forms of support so that they can continue to live. In some cases, the program also assists those struggling to deal with family problems such as mental health issues, drug addictions and even HIV/Aids.
Housing Payments Versus Rental Assistance
In some cases, a single mother may be put in the situation where she already owns a house, but cannot pay the mortgage. Whether due to disability or the need to use funds for an emergency, a single mother may be in a position where she needs to ask for financial assistance with her mortgage. If this is the case, there is a process she can follow, namely:
- The person in question needs to consult with their bank whether they should opt for a reinstatement or a repayment plan. With a repayment plan, the person who owes the overdue mortgage pays a little extra each month to cover the missed payments. A reinstatement plan allows the person who owes on their mortgage to pay the entire amount owing at a specified time agreed to by both parties.
- Single mothers can then apply to HUD or any housing assistance center. Once contacted, the housing authority will give the single mother the name and details of a housing authority workplace that they can go to for assistance. They can then discuss what they owe and the type of help that they need.
- The housing authority, using special software, will advise the single mother of which housing is available in their area, and how they can get the help they need.
Of course, getting either help with rent or with mortgages all depends on the housing currently being used, that is, either a house that is owned or rented. Rental assistance for single mothers can often come in the form of assistance with expenses other than rent, rather than with the rent itself.
When Is It Time To Ask For Help?
For any single mother, the burden of raising children and managing a house may seem excessive, but not all of them are in the same boat. Some will be able to manage their household on their sole income, and pay for any necessary expenses. Others however will struggle to make ends meet and when this happens they will need to ask for help in the form of rental assistance for single mothers. So how do you know if you qualify for a housing grant? Some of these guidelines will help you figure it out:
- Put together a budget plan. If your expenses exceed your income and you cannot possibly cut anything from your list of expenses, you may need help.
- Consider your housing situation. If you are paying very little rent but living in a bad area where you don’t feel safe, you may need help moving to another area. In this case, there are certain grants you can apply for that will help you uplift your family.
- Will your situation change? If you are in danger of retrenchment, or you are in danger of having your income reduced in any way, you may need help. Similarly, if your expenses are likely to increase, such as may occur if you are expecting a baby, you may need to apply for a housing grant before this occurs.
The government is in the position of being able to provide for its citizens, especially with rental assistance for single mothers, but cannot do so for those who do not know how to take the first step. Improving the quality of your life should mostly be based on your ability to make things happen, with the aid of the government and other institutions. That is why any single mother should have an idea of how to improve her life once she has received a grant. This could include any of the following:
- Getting an additional job – if you have the time and can take on the extra responsibility, consider a second job to supplement your income. If you have time but need to be at home, consider a work from home position writing, proofreading or even using a technical skill, such as sewing or embroidery.
- Reduce your expenses wherever possible – cut the cable TV, cut out expensive snacks and reduce the number of times you eat out every week. Just making a few small changes could make a huge difference to your wallet.
- Ask your kids to help out when they reach a certain age – at 16 or 17, getting a part time job makes your child more responsible and could contribute to your household income. Though the contribution may be small, this will teach your child the value of money, while also helping, even if it is with just one bill.
Improving your life is something that everyone should aspire to, but it is easier said than done. In the modern economy where everyone is faced with retrenchments and high prices, a single mother has to face the added burden of paying for their children and for their home. A housing grant can help, either with rental assistance for single mothers, or by assisting on mortgage payments. By applying for help with housing, a single mother ensures that they are not just investing in their own future and comfort, but that of their family too. Whether they are taking care of kids or elderly parents too, with rental assistance for single mothers, an improvement in the quality of life is imminent.
If you think you are in a position where you could qualify for this type of assistance, you should apply. To do so, contact your local housing authority and have a discussion with them about your options for the present and for your future. You might find that rental assistance for single mothers is abundant and by simply asking for it, you can ensure a better life for your kids and of course, for yourself.