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Help for single moms in Arkansas: 28 assistance programs

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If you’re a single mom in Arkansas struggling to make ends meet, keep reading for resources that help with: 

Statistically, families benefit most with cash assistance (vs through benefits programs).1 Here is our guide to single mom grant programs, including our own.

Every month, I give out $500 cash to one single mom struggling with money, health, stress, child care, illness or loneliness — no strings attached. 

Qualifications are simple:

1. You're a single mom.

2. You need the money right now.

Fill out this form to apply:

(Note that the figures and information in this post are current as of publication date.)

Many of the programs on this list determine eligibility as a percentage of the federal poverty level (FPL). These are the 2024 federal poverty guidelines:

Number of people in family/householdAnnual income

* For families/households with more than 8 people, add $5,380 for each additional person.

You can also look up your area median income (AMI) here.

Emergency cash for low-income families in Arkansas

If you need cash to pay bills, buy gas, feed your family, or for any other reason, these programs can help: 

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in Arkansas

TANF offers temporary cash assistance to families with children in Arkansas through separate sub-programs:

Transitional Employment Assistance: TEA is the primary TANF program offering cash assistance to families while also giving single parents work training and job search help.

Work Pays: After becoming employed through the TEA program, parents and caregivers can receive cash assistance of up to $204 per month from Work Pays to continue supporting their families. It also has bonuses of $400-$1,200 for maintaining employment or earning above 150% of the federal poverty level and transitioning out of the program.

Career Pathways: Single moms can attend Career Pathways-funded programs in local schools to train for a specific career.

Community Investment Initiative: This program gives money to community agencies to help support families with children in whatever ways they need, including shelter, food, or money.

TEA pays the following maximum monthly amounts:

Family SizeMaximum Monthly Amount


  • Arkansas residents
  • At least one child under 18 or pregnant
  • TEA recipients can qualify for Work Pays once they get a job
  • Schools and community agencies create their own eligibility guidelines for Career Pathways and Community Investment Initiative programs
  • Fit the income guidelines set by your county’s Department of Human Services for each program (varies)

How to get help:

Apply online through Access Arkansas.

More emergency cash help in Arkansas: 

Single moms in Arkansas can visit or dial 2-1-1 to ask for assistance.

Check out these posts for more ways to get emergency cash: 

These are some more tips for getting cash quickly: 

Housing help for single moms in Arkansas

If you need help finding a place to live or paying your rent/mortgage, these programs can help: 

Rental assistance in Arkansas

There are multiple programs in Arkansas to help renters find housing and pay their rent:

Arkansas Fresh Start

Arkansas Fresh Start helps families pay their rent. The program gives money to community agencies, which distribute the funds to families in need. Families in rent-to-own agreements may also be eligible. Families can get up to 2.5 months of rent assistance, paid directly to the property’s landlord.


  • Arkansas residents
  • Past-due rent as of March 18, 2020
  • Have income at or below 80% of AMI
  • Have an economic hardship due to a COVID-related issue

How to get help: 

Locate your community action agency on the Arkansas Fresh Start map for contact information.

Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) in Arkansas

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) helps low-income individuals and families pay rent through its voucher system. 


Eligibility is determined by HUD agencies governing each Arkansas county. Participants must meet their area’s income guidelines.

How to get help: 

  • Contact your local public housing agency for information on how to apply/income eligibility
  • Call 800-569-4287

Mortgage assistance in Arkansas

If you need help buying a home in Arkansas, these programs can help: 

Arkansas Homeowner Assistance Fund

This program pays up to six months of mortgage payments for homeowners who are struggling to make their payments.


  • Own a home in Arkansas and use that home as your primary residence
  • Income at or below 150% of AMI  
  • Mortgage must be with a lender with an NMLS number

How to get help: 

Apply on the Arkansas Homeowner Assistance Fund website.

ADFA Homeownership Programs

The Arkansas Development Finance Authority funds home loans to help Arkansas homebuyers finance their homes. The ADFA backs its home loans through participating lenders. 

The ADFA offers the following programs for homeowners:

  • ADFA Move-Up: This mortgage loan is for 30 years at a competitive fixed interest rate with no prepayment penalty 
  • Mortgage Credit Certificate Program: Eligible homebuyers can get a tax credit of up to 35% of their paid mortgage interest for the year
  • Down Payment Assistance Program: Pays up to $15,000 in down payment assistance and closing costs through a 10-year second mortgage loan
  • Arkansas Dream Down Payment Initiative: Gives homebuyers who are eligible for an AFDA mortgage up to $25,000 as a second mortgage loan, forgiven over 5-10 years, to help them pay their down payment


Each lender determines their own requirements, but homebuyers should meet income requirements set by the ADFA for a mortgage or down payment assistance program:

How to get help: 

Use the Home Loans Arkansas website to find a participating lender.

Hope Credit Union Home Loans

Hope Credit Union Enterprise Corporation offers loan options for first-time homebuyers, homeowners who want to refinance, and those denied lending because of poor credit. Hope offers loan products that cater to low- to moderate-income families:

  • FHA loan – Ideal for families with low to moderate income who cannot afford a large down payment
  • Hope loan – An affordable housing loan from Hope Credit Union you can apply for even if your credit score is as low as 580

Hope has loan options for any income level and credit standing.


  • Arkansas resident

How to get help:

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>

Homeless assistance in Arkansas

COVID-19 Emergency Solutions Grant

Single moms in Arkansas who are at risk of becoming homeless or are currently without a home can get help from this program. The grant gives money to organizations that provide emergency shelter, rapid rehousing services, or rental assistance.


The organizations receiving funds determine eligibility for their programs.

How to get help: 

Download the list of community agencies that distribute Emergency Solutions Grant funds.

More housing help: 

Electric bill assistance in Arkansas

If you are struggling to pay your utility bills in Arkansas, check out the following programs:

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in Arkansas

LIHEAP pays money directly to energy companies for Arkansas families with low incomes. The program works year-round for both heating and cooling costs. 


  • Resident of Arkansas
  • Have an income within the program’s limits:
Family SizeMaximum Monthly Countable Income
Each additional person, add$590

How to get help:

Contact your local LIHEAP Community-Based Organization (CBO).

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) in Arkansas

WAP helps Arkansas residents improve their home’s efficiency. The program gives money to community agencies to help families in need with services like installing insulation and improving a home’s heating system.


  • Resident of Arkansas
  • Income must not exceed 200% of poverty guidelines set by the Department of Energy

How to get help:

Contact your local WAP-funded community agency.

More electric bill help: 

Free money to help pay bills

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in Arkansas

Arkansas single moms can get help paying for medical and dental services with the following federal and state programs.   

Dental Lifeline in Arkansas

Dental Lifeline is a network of volunteer dentists in Arkansas that help people get medically necessary dental care for free. 


  • Single moms can qualify if they are disabled or require medically necessary dental care with a doctor’s explanation
  • Caregivers over the age of 65 may also qualify for care

How to get help: 

Contact the Dental Lifeline Arkansas coordinator:

Charitable Dental Clinics in Arkansas

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) hosts a directory with free dental clinics that help adults and children in need get necessary dental care.


Each clinic sets its own eligibility guidelines for dental patients.

How to get help: 

Visit the UAMS Charitable Dental and Medical Clinics Resource Directory to find a clinic near you.

Arkansas Medicaid

Arkansas offers several Medicaid programs that help single moms and their children get free or affordable health care services:

  • Maternal Life 360: This program uses Medicaid funds to buy private health insurance coverage for pregnant women, new moms, and their babies.
  • Newborn: Newborns under age 1 can get Medicaid coverage until their first birthday, even if their family’s income is too high, if the mother qualified for Medicaid at the time of the baby’s birth.
  • Parent or Other Caretaker Relative: Parents or caregivers of minor children may receive Medicaid through this program if they meet income guidelines.
  • Full Pregnant Women: Pregnant women 19 and older who meet income limits can receive Medicaid through this program.
  • Unborn Pregnant Women: Non-citizen pregnant women in Arkansas can receive limited-service Medicaid to assist with their prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care throughout their pregnancy and for a short time after delivery.


Income and eligibility guidelines vary by program.

How to get help:

Contact your county Arkansas Department of Human Services for eligibility details and to apply.

ARKids First (Arkansas Children’s Health Insurance Program)

ARKids First gives children and teens low-cost or free health care services as part of the state Medicaid program. 

There are two ARKids programs:

  • ARKids A: Children without health insurance whose family has income above traditional Medicaid guidelines can receive health care coverage without co-pays under this program.
  • ARKids B: This program requires some low-fee co-pays for specific services. It’s for children who have not had health insurance for at least 90 days and do not qualify for other health coverage through their parents. 


  • Children must be under 19
  • Family must not meet Medicaid income guidelines
  • A child’s family must have income under 142% of the federal poverty guidelines to qualify for ARKids A or 142% to 211% for ARKids B:
Family SizeMonthly Income for ARKids A (Children’s Medicaid)Monthly Income for ARKids B (Children without insurance for 90 days)
Each additional member$530.13$787.73

How to get help: 

Apply on at Access Arkansas.

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in Arkansas

A number of federal and state food and nutrition programs are available across the state:

Arkansas Food Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP helps low-income Arkansas families buy food. Arkansas puts eligible funds on a card for families to use at participating stores to buy produce, pantry items, and other nutritious foods. 

Recipients can also use their SNAP benefits to buy food from local farmers’ markets. The SNAP program also doubles up to $20 of benefits when you shop at a farmers’ market.

You can find the maximum amount of monthly benefits for your household in this chart.


  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be an Arkansas resident
  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Have no more than $2,250 in resources
  • Meet income guidelines:
Family SizeGross Monthly Income

How to get help: 

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Arkansas

WIC in Arkansas helps pregnant women, mothers, and children get nutritious food, including baby formula and food. The program also:

  • Provides breastfeeding support
  • Gives mothers nutritional resources
  • Refers members to helpful health services


  • Low-income, pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, for up to one year postpartum
  • Women up to six months postpartum who are not breastfeeding
  • Infants and children under 5 years old, including foster children
  • Low-income sole provider parents of children under age of 5 who are at nutritional risk and who are below 185% of FPL
  • If you are currently receiving Medicaid, Temporary Assistance, or Food Assistance help, you are also eligible for WIC

How to get help: 

National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program in Arkansas

Federal school lunch and breakfast programs give money to states like Arkansas to help children within the state have affordable or free school meals. Participating schools in Arkansas provide the program to students through age 18. 


How to get help: 

  • Contact your child’s school for more information
  • Call 501-682-8869 or 800-482-5850, extension 28869.

Arkansas Summer and Out-of-School Meal Programs

When school is not in session — either for summer or after school — children who qualify for free or reduced school meals may also qualify for free meals funded by the USDA. 

How to get help: 

Visit the USDA website to find participating locations in Arkansas.

Arkansas food banks

Food banks across Arkansas provide food to families in need.


Each food bank sets its own eligibility requirements.

How to get help: 

Visit the Arkansas Food Bank website to find a food bank in your area.

More food help: 

Child care help for low-income families in Arkansas

There are multiple federally funded education programs and resources in Arkansas:

Arkansas Child Care Assistance Program

The Child Care Assistance Program pays child care expenses for parents with low incomes while they go to work or school. Eligible parents must choose a child care program that participates in the program.

Depending on their income, as shown below, some families may have a copay for child care services. Copays are based on the star level of the center a child attends, either 2% or 4%. That percentage is then multiplied by the center’s per-day rate to determine a family’s copay.


  • Have an eligible child age 12 or younger
  • Household adults must work at least 30 hours per week, attend school full-time, or work and attend school for at least 30 hours weekly
  • Meet income requirements:
Family SizeMonthly Income (No Co-Pay)Monthly Income (Co-Pay)

How to get help:

Download an application and email it to [email protected], bring it to your local Arkansas Department of Human Services office, or mail it to:

Arkansas Department of Human Services

Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education

P.O. Box 1437, Slot S145

Little Rock, AR 72203

Arkansas Head Start and Early Head Start

Early Head Start in Arkansas gives educational and healthy development resources to children up to age 3 and pregnant women.

Head Start is the follow-up program for children 3 to 5 years old. It supports early learning and healthy development through learning programs and building healthy and strong family relationships and support systems. 


  • Children from birth to 5 
  • Meet federal poverty guidelines 
  • Be an Arkansas resident or qualify as a seasonal migrant working family

How to apply: 

More child care help

Education help for single moms in Arkansas

If you’re a single mom who wants to further her education, here are some helpful resources: 

Get a GED in Arkansas

Anyone age 18 or older can take a GED test in Arkansas with a valid driver’s license or state ID. Single moms who are 16 or 17 years old can complete the exam with parental permission after completing an approved GED course and passing the Civics Exam.

Each part of the exam costs $4 at a test center or $36 per section if taken online with a proctor. The four exam subjects are: 

  • Social studies
  • Science
  • Mathematical reasoning
  • Language arts

Grants and scholarships in Arkansas

Single moms in Arkansas can search the state’s Scholarship Application Management System to find state-specific grants and scholarships they might qualify for. These grants and scholarships can apply directly to a degree program to help single moms pay for college.

Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund

This scholarship fund helps single moms in Arkansas pay for their education through scholarships. Scholarships can range up to $3,600 for one year.


  • Arkansas resident
  • United States citizen
  • Single parent
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Have a GPA of at least 2.0
  • Have income no higher than 250% of the federal poverty level
  • Have a completed FAFSA for financial aid
  • Attend an approved school

How to get help: 

Apply on the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund website.

More education help: 

Employment help for single moms in Arkansas

Workforce programs in Arkansas provide training and assist with employment:

Arkansas Unemployment Benefits

Single moms in Arkansas who have lost their job or have been laid off through no fault of their own may be able to get unemployment benefits until they can get another job.


  • Arkansas resident 
  • Unemployed
  • Meet the earnings requirements for a qualifying pay period
  • Be able and willing to look for another job

How to get help: 

Apply online through EZARC

American Job Centers in Arkansas

Single moms looking for work in Arkansas can search the American Job Center website to find a local office that can help with:

  • Job training
  • Job searches
  • Career development
  • Career planning
  • Self-assessments
  • Skill building workshops
  • Practice interviews
  • Salary and industry research and resources

How to get help: 

More employment help: 

Charity organizations in Arkansas

There are a number of charitable organizations throughout Arkansas that offer support to single moms:

Arkansas Community Foundation

ARCF gives grants to community agencies in Arkansas to support causes like early literacy and food security. Community organizations receiving scholarships and grants can help local single parents through their own programs. Single moms attending school can also receive scholarships for their education from ARCF.


The eligibility for scholarships and grant-funded support varies by program.

How to get help: 

The Salvation Army in Arkansas

The Salvation Army’s Arkansas and Oklahoma division helps low-income families thrive in their communities with programs offering:

  • Financial assistance
  • Donations
  • Shelter
  • After-school programs
  • Emergency help
  • Help to buy holiday gifts
  • Food
  • Job search and training
  • Help with domestic abuse situations
  • Spiritual support


Salvation Army locations in Arkansas determine the services they offer and their eligibility guidelines for each program.

How to get help: 

Enter your zip code on the Salvation Army website to find a center near you.

United Way in Arkansas

United Way helps Arkansas families by meeting their basic necessities, helping with financial needs, and improving local education and economies. There are 19 United Way locations in Arkansas.

How to get help: 
Contact your nearest United Way location.


  1. “The Long-Term Impacts of Cash Assistance to Families,” by Kevin Werner, The Urban Institute, Jan. 31, 2024

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