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Housing for single moms: Free or affordable options in 2022

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In this post, we share programs and organizations that provide housing for single moms with no income and single moms with low income. Affordable housing resources and financial support range from rental assistance, home loans for single moms, and ways to get help when you’re facing a housing crisis.

Learn more about what options are available to you if you are a single mother, and discover other ways to save and reduce living expenses.

Is your tax debt holding you back from home ownership?

Housing help for single moms:

1. HUD housing for low-income single moms

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) works with landlords to offer affordable rent to no-income and low-income families, including single moms, the disabled and senior citizens.

If you have no job income or income from sources such as Social Security, disability benefits, or welfare assistance payments via Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), you can apply for the Section 8 housing subsidy to cover all or part of rent in a HUD housing facility or other preferred housing that accepts the HUD Choice Voucher program (Section 8).

Learn how to qualify for HUD housing, and search for a HUD apartment on the program’s website.

HUD also has various state-sponsored housing programs throughout the country. Learn about these state housing programs for low-income moms.

HUD public housing for low-income families is another option. Contact your state’s Public Housing Agency (PHA) directly to learn more.

2. Housing Choice Voucher program, also known as Section 8 vouchers

HUD Section 8 vouchers are a type of housing subsidy. They are coupons given directly to no-income and low-income renters who use them to pay part or all of their rent to participating landlords.

Housing options are not limited to subsidized housing, and can include:

  • Apartments
  • Single family homes
  • Condos
  • Multi-family housing
  • Mobile homes 

Again, you just need to find an owner or landlord who agrees to allow you to rent under the program and approved by your local PHA.

Apply for Section 8, and find participating property owners.

Rent-to-own housing assistance

Some PHAs also offer rent to own housing assistance through Section 8 vouchers. There are specific eligibility requirements for this program. You must be a first-time homeowner, and you’ll need to have a certain amount in a savings account, among other requirements.

You’ll want to check with your local PHA to see if this is an option for you, because again, it is not available through every PHA.

3. Emergency Solutions Grants

If you suddenly become homeless or are in a housing crisis, the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program provides resources to help you find emergency housing, prevent homelessness, or assist with rapid relocation to a safe place.

Federal ESG funds are distributed to grantees including state and local governments, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, public house authorities, and Tribal entities. 

Grantees assist people in their jurisdiction with current or back rent, security deposits, utility payments, and provide tenant advocacy for legal issues with landlords.

If you need fast help finding a home or staying in your current home, contact your local HUD field office to get in touch with your local ESG grantee.

4. Co-housing

Increasingly, single moms are discovering the benefits of living with other like-minded single moms to provide better living arrangements — and better opportunities — for their children.

CoAbode is a national organization that helps single mothers connect for the purpose of sharing a home. Participants pool resources to create a supportive, more affordable, and secure environment for raising children.

In many cases, mothers who use CoAbode are able to move to neighborhoods with more resources, better school systems, and new opportunities because they combine incomes.

To participate, register for free with CoAbode. Answering the personal profile questions helps you search for and be found by single moms like you. Sign up for a free account with CoAbode to start the process.

Note, co-housing does not provide financial assistance like some of the other grants and programs in this guide do. However, home sharing can be a great way to lower living costs if government assistance is not a fit for you and your family. 

5. Search “United Way near me” for housing resources

United Way is a nonprofit organization that connects families and individuals with resources, especially in tough times. Your local United Way branch can help you find: 

  • Rental assistance programs
  • Homeowner/renter counseling
  • Legal help for landlord issues
  • Emergency cash for rent
  • Affordable housing programs

United Way is available in more than 40 countries with roughly 1,800 locations. Some locations cover multiple counties or districts. Find your local United Way with a zip code search:

google-maps-usa-image

“I need help paying my rent today.”

Whether you lose a job, have an unexpected illness, or suffer a financial setback, there is rental assistance for single moms available. While some resources are immediate, others take time so it is important to apply as soon as possible.

In fact, in some states, submitting a rental assistance application is enough to ban an eviction. This could give you time to find more rental assistance programs or secure new living arrangements.

1. COVID-19 rental assistance

To provide rental help throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, state, local, and tribal programs are funded by the federal Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program. 

You can also check with your city, county, or municipality for ERA help by calling 211 in the United States.

Funds cover rent, utilities, and other home energy costs. You may also be able to get money for relocation expenses.

You may be eligible if:

  • At least one person in your home lost income, qualifies for unemployment, owes large expenses, or experienced financial hardships (priority goes to those unemployed for 90 days or more)
  • Your household income is below the area median income (AMI); percentages vary by area but applicants with 50% or less income than the AMI have top priority 
  • You or a household member is at risk of becoming homeless

Start now, as it can take at least three to five weeks to process your application. Find COVID-19 rental assistance in your area.

2. Veterans Affairs assistance with rent

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) offers assistance with rent through a joint program with HUD. The HUD-VA Supportive Housing program (HUD-VASH) provides rent assistance vouchers to homeless veterans living in privately-owned housing.

Even if you have no income, you are eligible for help. PHAs cannot deny access to families with zero income.

If you are a veteran in need of rent assistance from HUD-VASH or facing an eviction or loss of housing, contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans for immediate assistance. Phone lines are open 24/7.

3. Salvation Army rent assistance  

The Salvation Army uses its resources to offer short-term emergency funds for rent assistance. To date, the organization has provided over $112 million in rent and mortgage assistance in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Salvation Army operates neighborhood locations in all states, as well as in Puerto Rico. Each location has specific services.

To find out if emergency financial assistance is offered in your area, use your zip code to find your local center.

4. Catholic Charities rental assistance

Catholic Charities USA addresses diverse needs of people all across the nation. If you are struggling with paying rent, consider moving to a Catholic Charities owned or operated property.

Catholic Charities rental assistance comes in the form of affordable housing options. They have over 35,000 affordable housing units and are working to add more.

To see what resources and properties are available in your area, search by your city, state or zip code.

5. Continuum of Care Program

The Continuum of Care (CoC) program is a consolidation of multiple former HUD programs to protect citizens against homelessness, including:

  • Supportive Housing Program
  • Shelter Plus Care Program (S+C)
  • Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation SRO Program

CoC awards grants to nonprofit organizations, plus state and local government and public housing agencies. If you are homeless and have no income or low income, you can get help from a CoC grant recipient in your area to move into transitional or permanent housing or to find other means of support.

To find CoC participants in your area, check out the HUD Exchange.

Most of us are planning for a recession, and asking, ‘How does a recession affect me?

Housing assistance for single moms

Looking for a home to give your children a safe place to grow? The following private, nonprofit, and government-sponsored housing assistance resources can help you pay your rent, buy a home, or find a living space in emergency situations:

1. Transitional housing “near me”

Leaving a domestic violence situation, losing a job, overcoming addiction, financing an extended hospital stay, and many other unexpected life challenges can impact your living situation. Transitional housing may be an option for you.

If you are facing homelessness, transitional housing might be a good solution, and there are likely temporary or extended-stay homes right in your community. You can do a Google search for “transitional housing near me” to get contact information for nearby homes and temporary housing programs.

You can also search for local nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and government entities such as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for transitional housing help. Under HHS, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a resource for finding transitional homes with stays up to 24 months. 

Many of these transitional homes are free if you have no income or offer a sliding scale rent based on your income. Some offer counseling and other resources to help you get back on your feet.

2. USDA Multi-Family Housing Rentals

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) helps rural families with a variety of programs for multi-family rental housing. These USDA programs serve the elderly, low-income families, and those with disabilities. 

Eligibility is based on income and age if applying for housing opportunities for elderly citizens. There are three income classifications based on the level of need and adjusted for household size:

  • Very low income: 50% of median income for the area
  • Low income: 80% of median income for the area
  • Moderate income: 80% of median income for the area, plus $5,500 

If eligible to receive rental assistance, you’ll pay up to 30% of your adjusted income for your rental.

In eligible rural areas, the USDA offers:

  • Rental loans with affordable financing options
  • Loans and grants for housing development and rehabilitation
  • Rental payment subsidies
  • Hardship vouchers
  • Grants to preserve affordable housing

To learn more, visit the USDA Multifamily Housing Programs website to get contact information for your regional representative.

3. HUD-subsidized affordable housing opportunities “near me”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a valuable resource for affordable housing and subsidies. If you search “HUD subsidized housing near me” you can quickly view nearby apartments and public housing communities. This phrase can also yield results for local public housing authorities/agencies (PHA) that can further aid you in your search.

Additionally, HUD offers a resource locator tool. With this tool you can find:

  • Nearby affordable housing
  • Your local HUD office
  • Your local PHA
  • Resources for the homeless
  • Housing help for the elderly
  • Housing assistance for those with specials needs

Use the HUD Resource Locator to find help near you.

HUD housing assistance locator.

4. Veterans Administration Shallow Subsidy program

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families program (SSVF), provides grants to hundreds of nonprofits to offer rental assistance to low-income and extremely low-income veteran households.

Low income is defined as below 50% of area median income (AMI). Extremely low income is below 30% AMI. 

Known as the Shallow Subsidy, this program covers up to 50% of rent for two years, even if your income increases.

These benefits are paid directly to participating landlords known as SSVF grantees. So, if your rent is $1200 per month and you get the 50% benefit, $600 goes directly to your landlord and you pay the remaining $600 each month.

This program is available in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.

There is a recertification process every two years to determine continued eligibility. You must be a veteran enrolled in SSVF Rapid Rehousing or VA Homeless Prevention to be considered for the program.

Reach out to your local VA or call 877-4AID-VET to learn more.

Bottom line: Single moms, housing assistance is there to help you

If you are a single mom with no income or low income and have no place to live or are struggling to afford your current apartment or home, there is help available.

Free and affordable housing options for single mothers include:  

  • Temporary or transitional housing
  • Rent assistance
  • Subsidies
  • Mortgage programs
  • Affordable housing
  • Co-housing

Reach out to local nonprofits, religious centers and organizations, and government entities to get help with these programs and to apply.

And if you’re ready to take the next step into homeownership, we put together a list of low-income home loans and home buyer grants for single moms.

If you are struggling with money and need financial or other assistance, check out this list of resources to help you afford housing:

Free laptops$500 monthly single mom grant
Free clothesScholarships for single moms
Free carFree Christmas gifts
Free smartphoneGovernment assistance for single moms
Free wifiFree and low-cost prescriptions
Free formulaFree diapers
Free gasFree toys
Free daycareAffordable dentures
Free prescription glassesFree money
10+ charities that help single mothersTutoring and homework help
Free or low-cost after school programsHealth insurance
Cash for junk carsFree food
Dumpster divingFree school supplies
Free or cheap dental careFree gift cards

Robyn Evans is an award-winning writer, inspirational author, and occasional songstress (especially in the shower). Born and raised in Baltimore, she focused on helping women make healthy choices for body, mind and soul. She’s a grateful bonus mom to a photographer son and activist daughter and works with young writers through a nonprofit called the Youth Writers Challenge. Robyn writes for corporate clients, is a former feature writer for The Carroll County Times, has written for The Baltimore Sun and is the author of three books.
Robyn's website | Robyn's LinkedIn profile

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