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Help for single moms in California

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

We also put together resources specifically for:

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 California

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

Temporary Cash Assistance in California 

In California, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is called CalWORKS. This welfare program offers cash aid and services for qualifying families with children, or to relatives who have court-ordered custody of a child.

CalWORKS serves all 58 counties in California. Eligible families can receive immediate short-term help for: 

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Clothing
  • Medical care

Those who qualify for ongoing assistance can receive money every month for up to 48 months as long as they enroll in the Welfare-to-Work program for a designated number of hours each week. 

Welfare-to-Work assesses participants based on their education and employment history to determine if they should: 

  • Be placed immediately into a job
  • Begin an education or training program
  • Combination of both 

Participants may also be eligible for child care and transportation services.

These are the maximum benefits per family size: 

Family sizeMinimum Basic Standard of Adequate Care (MBSAC) Limit


  • Live in California and plan to stay
  • U.S. citizen, or immigrant who has been given permission to live in the United States
  • Have an eligible child(ren) and/or are pregnant, and:
    • One or both parents do not live in the home, are no longer living, or are disabled
    • Both parents are living in the home, but the person who makes the most money is either not working or working less than 100 hours per month at the time of application 
    • Have a Social Security Number or have applied for one
    • Show that take-home wages are less than the maximum aid payment for each family size (MBSAC in the table above)
  • Have less than $10,888 in cash, the bank, all accounts, and other resources
  • Give proof of vaccinations for children under the age of six
  • Follow child support rules
  • Participate in Welfare-to-Work activities, completing a certain number of hours each week

How to get help:

  • Apply online on the Benefits Cal website
  • Contact the California Department of Children and Families at 800-540-4000
  • In person at your local Social Security Office

More emergency cash help in California

Single moms in California 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 California

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

Rental assistance in California

This California program can help renters find housing and pay their rent:

Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8)

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers affordable housing and vouchers to help low-income households pay their rent.


  • Citizen of the United States or equivalent
  • Combined household income needs to be below 80% of the median income in the area
  • More than 75% of all housing vouchers go to applicants in the extremely low-income bracket (less than 30% of AMI)
  • You can find your county’s income limits on the HUD website

How to get help: 


Mortgage assistance in California

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

California Mortgage Relief 

The California Mortgage Relief Program is a free program that uses federal Homeowner Assistance Funds (a federal program that helps homeowners who are behind on mortgage payments due to COVID-19) to help homeowners catch up on their past-due housing payments and property taxes. Homeowners do not have to repay these funds.

Even if a household has previously received funding, they can still apply again. Each household is eligible to receive a maximum of $80,000 in total assistance. 

Qualifications for mortgage relief:

  • Must have experienced financial hardship because of COVID-19
  • Mortgage/loan servicer must be participating in the California Mortgage Relief Program (see participating loan officers)
  • Combined income of all household members over the age of 18 is at or below 150% of AMI 
  • Homeowners cannot have cash or assets on hand (excluding savings in a retirement account) that is equal to or greater than the relief funds needed + $20,000
  • The original balance of the homeowner’s main loan can’t be larger than the conforming loan limit
  • Own and live in a single family home, condo, permanently affixed manufactured home, or property with up to four units
  • Must currently own and occupy the property in California as their only residence
  • Past-due amount must be $80,000 or less at the time of application submission                     

How to get help: 

MyHome Assistance Program 

MyHome Assistance Program is a loan program with two down payment assistance options: 

  • CalHFA Government Loans (FHA): MyHome offers a deferred-payment second mortgage of an amount up to the lesser of 3.5% of the purchase price or appraised value to assist with down payment and/or closing costs
  • CalHFA Conventional Loans: MyHome offers a deferred-payment second mortgage of an amount up to the lesser of 3% of the purchase price or appraised value to assist with down payment and/or closing costs

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>


  • Be a first-time homebuyer
  • Occupy the property (which must be a single-family, one-unit residence, including approved condominium/PUDs) as a primary residence
  • Complete homebuyer education counseling 
  • Meet CalHFA income limits (below) for this program:
Contra Costa$282,000
Del Norte$159,000
El Dorado$202,000
Los Angeles$180,000
San Benito$208,000
San Bernardino$173,000
San Diego$211,000
San Francisco$300,000
San Joaquin$168,000
San Luis Obispo$216,000
San Mateo$300,000
Santa Barbara$198,000
Santa Clara$300,000
Santa Cruz$236,000

How to get help: 

  • Find a loan officer in your area on the CalHFA website

California Dream For All

The California Dream For All program offers down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers in the form of an interest-free, second mortgage shared appreciation loan. With an appreciation loan, a homebuyer repays the loan and a percentage of the appreciation value if the home is sold or transferred to a new owner. 

The percentage varies based on the terms of the first mortgage. For example, if the loan provides 20% of the cost of the home, the homebuyer would pay 20% of the appreciated home value when sold or transferred.


  • First-time homebuyer
  • Household income is between 80% of the median income for your area and 150% of CalHFA income limits

How to get help:

  • Call 877-922-5432

Homeless assistance in California

If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, these programs can help: 

CalWORKS Homeless Assistance 

The CalWORKs Homeless Assistance (HA) Program is for families in the CalWORKS program (including eligible CalWORKS applicants). 

HA helps pay for permanent housing with a security deposit and 1-2 months of rent, and can also provide emergency shelter ($85 per day for up to 16 days) for families experiencing homelessness. 


Must be a current CalWORKs recipient or currently applying to CalWORKs. 

How to get help: 

Contact your local county welfare office to apply.

See if you qualify for a VA loan.

More California housing help: 

Transportation help for low-income families in California

If you need help with a car repair, getting reliable transportation or are looking for discounts on transportation, there are many resources available to low-income families.

Discounts on public transportation in California

California has over 100 public transit agencies that cover ground and water transportation.  To find out what is available in your area, contact your local transit agency.

While we can’t cover each of them, we’ve listed money-saving options for some of the largest transit agencies in the state:

Golden Empire TD

  • Covers: Bakersfield
  • Offers: Free rides through May 2024 if you attend school in the Bakersfield metro area (kindergarten through college) and reduced fares for disabled persons and riders 65 and over


  • Covers: LA County and Orange County
  • Offers: Free rides for children 5 and under, youth 6-18 with a Student Adventure Pass, and law enforcement officers with ID and in proper uniform, reduced fares for seniors 65 and over disabled persons, veterans, and Medicare card holders

Santa Cruz Metro

  • Covers: Monterey and Santa Cruz
  • Offers: Free rides for legally blind passengers, K-12 students, and to COVID-19 vaccination appointments, discount fares for seniors 62 and over and disabled persons

Riverside Transit Agency

  • Covers: Riverside
  • Offers: Free rides for active duty military, first responders, jurors, and children 46 inches tall and under, and reduced fares for seniors 60 and over, disabled persons, Medicare card holders, and veterans

Sacramento Regional Transit

  • Covers: Sacramento
  • Offers: Free fares for Los Rios Community College district students and for children in TK(transitional kindergarten)-12, reduced fares for seniors and disabled persons 

More reduced fare transit in California

Here are some options in different areas of the state to check out:

Golden Empire Transit District

This transit service covers Bakersfield and offers reduced or free fares for eligible riders.


  • Reduced fares for riders 65 and over or with a certified disability
  • Free rides through May 2024 if you attend school in the Bakersfield metro area (kindergarten through college) if your school participates, but you will need to get a pass form your school

How to get help:

  • Call 661-869-2438


Metrolink provides a 50% fare reduction to any rider who has a valid California EBT card. This pilot program, which launched in August 2023, will be available until all funding is exhausted.

Metrolink service is available in the following areas:

  • Antelope Valley
  • Inland Empire-Orange County
  • Orange County
  • Riverside
  • San Bernardino
  • Ventura County
  • Perris Valley

Please note that there are other Metrolink fare discount options if you don't have an EBT card.


  • California resident with a current California EBT card

How to get help:

  • Call 800-371-5465

Nonmedical transportation (NMT) and nonemergency medical transportation (NEMT) in California

If you are a Medi-Cal recipient, you may have access to free transportation to medical, dental, mental health, and substance abuse disorder appointments.

NMT is when you are transported by a private or public transit vehicle because you have no other way to travel to your appointment. NEMT is for individuals who need transport by an ambulance, wheelchair van, or litter van because you are unable to use public transit.


  • For NMT, you must have full-scope Medi-Cal or be a pregnant Medi-Cal recipient
  • For NEMT, you must contact your plan’s membership department if you are under a managed care plan, and if you have FFS Medi-Cal, you must request transport from your medical provider

How to get help:

  • If you cannot find a provider for either service, you may email [email protected] for assistance

Free cars in California

This nationwide nonprofit may be helpful if you need a car and cannot afford to buy one:

Free Charity Cars 

Free Charity Cars awards free vehicles to selected applicants in all 50 states. The nonprofit charity group has been awarding free vehicles to low-income American families since 1996 and has gifted more than 9,000 cars. The charity group notes that they do not have an inventory of vehicles readily available as they award cars as soon as they get them, so there can be extensive waiting periods for those selected for the free car program. 


  • Be a resident of the U.S.
  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level
  • Have a genuine need for a vehicle 
  • Have access to a Computer and Internet Service
  • Sign up for an online account 
  • Complete an online application for a vehicle
  • Have the financial means to pay for the fees, including the tag, title, emissions, insurance, etc.,
  • Take financial responsibility for maintaining insurance and upkeep on the vehicle if awarded 

How to get help:

Car repair help in California

Need help getting your car back on the road? Check out the following resources:

Nonprofit garages

Nonprofit garages offer free or reduced cost help for minor car repairs. For example, the Give Back Garage in Brentwood offers free or low-cost car repairs to qualified applicants based on need and the nature of the repair. Search “nonprofit garages near me” to see what is in your county.

Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) Repair Assistance

If you fail a smog check, CAP provides up to $1,200 for emissions related repairs if your vehicle year is 1996 or newer and up to $900 if your vehicle year is 1975-1995.


  • Household is at or less than 225% of the FPL for household size
  • Registered owner of vehicle
  • Must be the first time request for repair assistance with the vehicle
  • Able to make a 20% co-pay of the total cost of repair or pay the difference if the repair cost exceeds the maximum benefit
  • Able to pay additional fees or the cost of non-CAP approved repairs 

You must be able to make a co-payment of 20% of the repair cost up to the maximum amount of assistance. If the repair exceeds the maximum benefit you will subtract the maximum from the total cost and the remainder will be your co-pay. 

How to get help:

Clean transportation incentive in California

If you want to purchase a vehicle that runs on clean energy, such as an electric, fuel cell, or plug-in hybrid model, you can get an income-qualified grant or loan to help you make the purchase with the following program: 

Clean Cars 4 All

If you are willing to scrap your gas-powered car and buy a new or used clean, fuel-efficient vehicle, you can get up to $9,500 to help you make the purchase.


How to get help:

  • Contact a participating district

California car-free tax credit

If you meet income requirements, you can get a $1,000 refundable tax credit if you do not own a car in California. This program is focused on improving air quality by reducing pollution from vehicle emissions. Even if you do not owe money on your taxes, you can get the money as a refund.


  • Resident of California
  • Household income does not exceed $40,000 for single filers and $60,000 for joint filers

How to get help:

If you're ready to buy a car, but you have low or no credit, Auto Loan Express is a quality lender:

  • Better Business Bureau rating of A+
  • In business since 1999
  • For new or used cars
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  • Pre-approval within 30 seconds

24 hours to a car loan with Auto Loan Express >>

Electric bill assistance in California

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

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) in California

LIHEAP pays for home heating and cooling for households who qualify. The payments from the program are paid directly to utility companies. 


  • Total income is no more than 60% of the California State Median Income (see table below)
  • Responsible for paying your home heating or cooling bills
  • California resident
  • U.S. citizen, qualified alien, or permanent resident of the U.S.
Persons In Household​​Monthly Income

How to get help:

Contact your local LIHEAP office.

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

The WAP program provides services to make homes more energy efficient, such as installing carbon monoxide detectors, removing mold, or replacing inefficient heating units. This helps families lower their monthly energy bills. 


  • U.S citizen or a qualified alien
  • California resident
  • Meet annual household income guidelines based on the number of people in the household: 
Persons In Household​​​Monthly​​​​ Income

Families receiving SSI, TANF or Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits are automatically eligible.

How to get help:

Contact your county’s Weatherization provider.

Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)

LIHWAP can help you pay down past due water or wastewater bills if you meet income requirements. The program offers one-time support to help you keep your water service on and works with local water bill assistance service providers.


  • Household income is at or below 60% of the state median income for household size
  • Currently receiving benefits from CalFresh, CalWORKS, or LIHEAP
  • Your water provider (or landlord if it’s included in your rent) is enrolled in LIHWAP 

How to get help:

More electric bill help: 

Free money to help pay bills

More housing help: 

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in California

The following medical and dental services are available to qualifying individuals and families:        

California Medicaid

Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, provides medical coverage for low-income individuals and families:

  • Outpatient (ambulatory) services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospice and palliative care
  • Hospitalization
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Mental health services
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory and radiology services, such as X-rays
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Substance use disorder treatment services
  • Pediatric services
  • Vision services
  • Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT)
  • Non-medical transportation (NMT)
  • Long-term services and supports (LTSS)
  • Telehealth services


  • California resident
  • U.S. national citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien
  • In need of health care/insurance assistance with low income or very low income:
Household sizeMaximum income level per year

Must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Pregnant
  • Caretaker for a child 21 or younger
  • Member of the household has a disability, including blindness
  • 65 or older

How to get help:

Apply for coverage on the Medi-Cal website or call (916) 558-1784.

Medi-Cal Dental Program 

The Medi-Cal Dental Program covers or helps with dental services for most Medi-Cal members (Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program). 

  • Diagnostic and preventive dental hygiene
  • Emergency services for pain control
  • Tooth extractions
  • Fillings
  • Root canal treatments 
  • Crowns 
  • Scaling and root planing
  • Periodontal maintenance
  • Complete and partial dentures
  • Orthodontics for children who qualify


If you are eligible for Medi-Cal, you are eligible to get dental services. You do not need to apply separately. 

How to get help: 

To contact Medi-Cal Dental, call the Telephone Service Center at 800-322-6384 or call your local County Social Services office.

Covered California Dental 

Family dental plans (DHMO and DPPO) are available to single and married adults, with or without children, who have a health plan through Covered California (sponsored by the Department of Health Care Services). 

  • DHMO plan has no deductible; no annual benefit limit; and a $350 individual out-of-pocket maximum (child only)
  • DPPO plan has a $50 deductible for adults and $75 for children; no annual benefit limit for children and a $1,500 limit for adults; and a $350 individual out-of-pocket maximum (child only)

Services covered include:

  • Diagnostic and preventive
  • Amalgam filling
  • Root canal
  • Gingivectomy
  • Extraction
  • Crown
  • Medically necessary orthodontia


At least one adult must be enrolled in a family dental plan for a child in the family to enroll.

How to get help: 

Call (800) 300-1506 or visit Covered California’s website.

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) in California

HRSA, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, provides free or low-cost health and dental care to low-income people, including: 

  • General primary medical care
  • Diagnostic laboratory
  • Diagnostic radiology
  • Screenings
  • Coverage for emergencies
  • Voluntary family planning
  • Immunizations
  • Well child services
  • Gynecological care
  • Obstetrical care
  • Preventive dental
  • Pharmaceutical services
  • Substance use disorder services
  • Health education

HRSA also offers a 24/7 free and confidential mental health hotline for pregnant and new moms. Dial 833-943-5746 (833-9-HELP4MOMS).


Each health center sets its own eligibility criteria for free or reduced-cost care. 

How to get help:

Find an HRSA health center in California by typing in your address on HRSA’s search tool.

California Healthy Start

The Healthy Start Program is designed to help women with Medi-Cal coverage during and after pregnancy through services including: 

  • Nutrition
  • Dental education
  • Behavioral health services

Education services cover:

  • Prenatal care and parenting 
  • Conception 
  • Stress management
  • Local resources and assistance


Must be covered by Medi-Cal.

How to get help: 

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in California

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

California Food Assistance Program: Cal-Fresh (SNAP)

Cal-Fresh provides free money for food on an EBT card, which can be used at qualifying food retailers to purchase:

  • Breads
  • Cereals
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meats
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Dairy
  • Plants and seeds to grow food 

Recipients can also take advantage of a program called Fresh Access Bucks (FAB). With this program, SNAP benefits can also be used for fresh fruits and vegetables at designated farmer’s markets, produce stands, CSAs, mobile markets, and community grocery outlets. 

Check out this list of food banks.


  • California resident
  • Current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,500 or under $3,750 and share your household with one of the following:
    • Person or persons age 60 and over
    • Person with a disability

Recipients must also have an annual household income below these amounts: 

Household sizeGross income

*Each additional member +$758

How to get help: 

Apply for benefits on the Cal-Fresh website or call 877-847-3663.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is a nutrition program that provides free baby formula and nutritional food items to low-income mothers and their babies. 


  • 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: 

Call your local WIC office or 888-WIC-WORKS (888-942-9675) and say you want to apply for WIC. 

Free school meals

California became the first state to mandate free meals to all students, starting with the 2022-23 school year. All K-12 public schools must provide free breakfast and lunch to students requesting a meal, even if they didn't previously qualify for free or reduced price meals.

California’s Summer Food Service Program

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services serves nutritious meals at no cost to children during summer break. Food is distributed at local schools, nonprofits, parks and libraries. 


These are the current income guidelines for the Summer Food Service Program

Annual Household Income Limits (before taxes)

Household SizeMaximum Income Level (per year)

How to get help: 

Find a location near you at the USDA Summer Food Service Program website.

California Food Banks

Food banks in California provide meals for individuals and families who are struggling to put food on the table. 


Each food bank sets its own eligibility and proof of need requirements. 

How to get help: 

To find a food bank near you and for additional information, visit the CA Food Banks website.

More food help: 

Child care help for low-income families in California

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

California Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start is a free federal preschool program for children aged 3 to 5 from low-income families. Early Head Start serves pregnant women and children under age 3. The programs focus on cognitive, social, and emotional development and prepare children for school. 


  • Children from birth to 5 
  • Meet federal poverty guidelines 
  • Children in foster care, homeless children, and children from families receiving public assistance (TANF, SSI, etc.) are eligible regardless of income
  • Some programs accept kids with incomes above the Poverty Guidelines
  • Pregnant women can also receive prenatal and postpartum information, education, and services through Early Head Start

How to apply: 

First 5 California

First 5 California/Proposition 10 helps children’s health and education in the early years of their development. Each county provides services for families with children ages 0-5.


Number of qualifying childrenCalifornia maximum incomeCalEITC (up to)Federal EITC (up to)Young child tax credit
3 or more$30,000$3,417$6,935$1,083
  • Recipient, spouse, and any qualifying children each have a Social Security number 
  • Do not use the “married/RDP filing separate” filing status
  • Live in California for more than half the tax year
  • Be 18 or older at the end of the tax year

How to get help: 

More child care help

Education help for single moms in California

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

Get a GED in California

If you are at least 18 years old in California, you can take the GED test. If not, you must meet the following qualifications:

  • Within 60 days of your 18th birthday (regardless of school enrollment status)
  • Within 60 days of when you would have graduated from high school had you remained in school
  • 17 years of age; have been out of school for at least 60 consecutive days and provide a letter of request for the test from the military, a postsecondary educational institution, or a prospective employer

The GED test is broken into four exams on different subjects, which can be spaced out and taken at your own pace (though each individual exam has a time limit): 

  • Mathematical reasoning – 115 minutes
  • Reasoning through language arts – 150 minutes
  • Social studies – 70 minutes
  • Science – 90 minutes

You have two options for taking the test in California: 

  • In person — $35 per subject 
  • Online — $41 per subject 

Grants and scholarships in California

The Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) connects students and prospective students with grants and scholarships available in California. To find out which scholarships and grants you may be eligible for, create a student profile on the OSFA website

Individual schools also offer need-based and academic scholarships for their students. If you’ve been accepted to a higher education institution, contact their office of financial aid to learn how to apply.

California Student Loan Forgiveness

Employment help for single moms in California

Workforce programs in California provide training and assist with employment:

CalWORKS Welfare-to-Work

The CalWORKs Program helps single moms in California prepare for employment. Transportation, child care, and covering work or training-related expenses are some of the services offered. 


  • The CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work Program is open to anyone receiving CalWORKs cash aid
  • Anyone receiving CalWORKs cash aid must participate in the Welfare-to-Work program unless that person is exempt due to being ill or incapacitated

How to get help: 

  • Call 916-657-2128

WorkSource Centers

WorkSource centers are government-funded locations that help unemployed single moms or people looking to gain new skills. These centers act as your personal employment agency, and all services are free. Employment support services include:

  • Job training, resume building, and interview skills
  • Phone and computer access; skills workshops
  • Employment referrals
  • Customized job matching
  • Career guidance and placement assistance

How to get help: 

Search for a location on the WorkSource website.

More employment help: 

Charity organizations in California

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

The Salvation Army of California

The Salvation Army can help with:

  • Food, shelter and clothing
  • Medication costs
  • Education and job training
  • Christmas presents
  • Rent and utility bills
  • Substance abuse rehabilitation
  • Youth services
  • Emergency disaster response


Each Salvation Army branch determines its own eligibility criteria for different programs. 

How to get help: 

Catholic Charities of California

Catholic Charities assists with:

  • Housing
  • Utility assistance
  • Food assistance
  • Health care assistance

Catholic Charities operate in 30 counties across California. Check out that information here


Each Catholic Charities branch determines its own eligibility criteria for different programs. 

How to get help: 

  • Apply for assistance by reaching out to your nearest Catholic Charities branch in California 
  • Call 916-706-1539 

United Ways of California

The United Ways of California connects people in need with local resources like: 

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Child care services
  • Housing
  • Health care
  • Support groups

How to get help: 

Help for single moms in Los Angeles, California

The following resources serve residents of Los Angeles, Ca.:

Housing help in Los Angeles

If you need housing help in Los Angeles, here are some options:

Downtown Women’s Center

The Downtown Women’s Center helps women with children find permanent housing after going through hardship or having trouble finding ideal housing resources. They offer rapid re-housing to survivors of domestic violence, support to veterans to navigate benefits, and help for women dealing with complex mental or physical health conditions.

The center also provides:

  • Daily meals
  • Health clinic access
  • Showers and bathrooms
  • Computer access
  • Employment services


  • Los Angeles resident
  • Single woman with or without children

How to get help:

  • Call 213-223-2900

Safe Parking LA

If you are currently living in your vehicle, Safe Parking LA can make sure you have safe overnight parking, provide access to running water, and help you chart a pathway to stable housing.

This program is available in:

  • San Fernando Valley
  • Hollywood
  • Downtown Los Angeles
  • West Los Angeles


  • Currently living in your car and have a valid driver’s license
  • Vehicle is operational and you are the registered driver

How to get help:

Transportation help in Los Angeles

Here is a discount travel option in Los Angeles:

Low Income Fare is Easy (LIFE) program

The LIFE program, offered by LA Metro, helps income-eligible LA County residents save money by capping fares, offering discounted passes, and earning free rides. New applicants will get a free 90-day pass to ride LA Metro fixed routes. 

This program works on the following LA transit routes:

  • Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA)
  • Culver City Bus Foothill Transit
  • Glendale Beeline
  • GTrans
  • Long Beach Transit
  • Montebello Bus Lines
  • Norwalk Transit
  • Pasadena Transit
  • Santa Clarita Transit
  • Santa Monica Big Blue Bus
  • Transit Torrance


How to get help:

  • Apply online
  • Call 818-244-2550 if you travel in the Gateway Cities or San Gabriel Valley or 323-870-8567 for all other LA Metro areas

Medical and dental care help in Los Angeles

If you are looking for medical or dental care in Los Angeles, check out these resources:


QueensCare is a faith-based organization that helps provide healthcare access to low-income households in Los Angeles. The organization administers direct care to patients and also contracts with hospitals and nonprofits to deliver healthcare services to families in need.

QueensCare provides:

  • Health screenings 
  • Primary care
  • Medical treatment
  • Health education
  • Dental treatment
  • Pastoral care


How to get help:

St. John’s Community Health Clinics

St. John’s Community Health runs multiple clinics throughout Central and South Los Angeles and Compton. The clinics offer medical, dental, vision, pediatric, and behavioral health services. St. John’s offers these services to low-income residents and those who are uninsured or underinsured.

In addition, they provide:

  • Vaccinations
  • Access to a food pantry
  • A program especially for new and expecting Black mothers
  • Homeless health services
  • Substance abuse services 
  • Transgender health programs
  • HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, and PrEP care


  • Anyone, regardless of age, is welcome to make an appointment if they need care

How to get help:

Help Me Grow LA

Help Me Grow LA helps parents find free or low-cost programs to support children experiencing developmental delays and education or behavioral challenges.


  • All families with children in Los Angeles County looking for development, learning, or behavioral resources

How to get help:

  • Call 833-903-3972

Food help in Los Angeles

Here is a food resource local to Los Angeles:

Los Angeles Mission food boxes

Los Angeles Mission runs a weekly food box program. The boxes contain perishable food items and toiletries.


  • Families who are in need of food in Los Angeles

How to get help:

Child care help in Los Angeles

Check out this child care resource available to parents in Los Angeles: 

Connections for Children

Connections for Children helps parents who work or attend school find financial help to pay for child care. Depending on income, child care programs are either free or offered at a reduced cost.


How to get help:

Education help in Los Angeles

Here are some education resources in Los Angeles:

College Match LA

College Match LA helps high school students from low-income households pursue college. The organization has a 100% success rate of students being accepted at four-year colleges and helps students with the following:

  • Tutoring
  • College visits
  • Help with completing college and financial aid applications
  • Help with pursuing scholarships
  • Financial help with college expenses when needed


How to get help:

  • Contact your child’s guidance counselor at a participating school
  • Email [email protected]

LA Cash for College

LA Cash for College helps parents support their students who are planning to attend college. They offer help with completing college applications, run financial aid workshops, and provide opportunities for students to earn scholarships. 


  • Any Los Angeles family with a high school student planning to attend college 

How to get help:

Employment help in Los Angeles

Check out these employment resources in Los Angeles, Ca.:

WorkSource Centers

The Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department provides centers where job seekers can get support to find a job, apply for unemployment. All career services are free and you’ll have access to phones, computers, printers, copiers, and fax machines.


  • Anyone in Los Angeles who needs employment service support

How to get help:

LA Local Hire

If you are considering a civil service career, LA Local Hire offers two programs to help you get started:

  • Targeted Local Hire Program: Helps you gain access to entry-level civil service position in the City of Los Angeles
  • Bridge to Jobs: Helps individuals get hired to semi-skilled positions (greater responsibility than entry level)


  • Anyone may apply but preference is given to:
    • Veterans
    • Disabled persons
    • Transgender individuals
    • Seniors
    • Foster, transition age, and disconnected youth
    • Former gang members
    • Homeless and former homeless persons
    • Residents of underserved zip codes
    • Former incarcerated persons

How to get help:

Charity organizations in Los Angeles

Here is a local Los Angeles charity that helps single moms:

She Is Hope LA

She Is Hope LA helps single mothers find answers to challenges they encounter every day. They offer food support and other basic needs, but single moms must meet with an advisor to receive targeted services to help them thrive.


  • Single mothers in Los Angeles are encouraged to apply

How to get help:

Help for single moms in San Diego, California

The following resources serve residents of San Diego, Ca.:

Housing help in San Diego

If you need housing help in San Diego, here is an option:

One Month Away

City Heights Community Development’s One Month Away program focuses on keeping San Diego residents in their homes. The program offers a one-time payment of $1,000 to avoid eviction for low-income renters who are impacted by a COVID-29 job loss or personal hardship.


  • San Diego County residents facing an eviction

How to get help:

  • Call 619-961-1054

Transportation help in San Diego

Here are some options to save money on transportation in San Diego:

San Diego Metro Transit System (MTS) free and reduced fares

Children 5 and under can ride free on any MTS route with an adult, but San Diego MTS also offers multiple programs to help further reduce costs on public transit:

  • Youth Opportunity Pass (YPO): Free fares through June 2024 on PRONTO (trolley service) and North County Transit District (NCTD) routes for youth 18 and under through the YPO pilot program
  • Silver Line Education Program: If you are a third-grade teacher in San Diego County, you can get free fares for yourself and your students to take a 25-minutes trip in the Silver Line Vintage Trolley
  • Discounted College Pass Program: Unlimited rides for one price for students at participating colleges
  • Employee fare discounts: Ask your employer if they participate in MTS reduced fare programs
  • PRONTO Extend: If you are 18-24 and have exited the foster care system or are in the Extended Foster Care Program, you can ride free on MTS and NCTD routes


  • Each program has its own requirements and application process

How to get help:

  • Call 619-557-4555

Electric bill help in San Diego

This resource in San Diego helps with utility assistance:

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE) bill assistance

If SDG&E provides your power and you are behind on your bill, they offer multiple programs to help you get caught up or save money, including:

  • CARE: Save 30% or more on your monthly energy bill
  • FERA: Get an 18% discount on your bill if you have at least three people in your home
  • Neighbor-to-Neighbor: Get up to $600 toward your bill
  • Debt forgiveness: Reduce your outstanding balance through a payment plan


  • Each program has specific eligibility requirements

How to get help:

  • Call 800-411-7343

Child care help in San Diego

Check out this child care resource available to parents in San Diego: 

Child Care San Diego

If you need help paying for child care, Child Care San Diego may be able to help you get a child care subsidy. You will have to meet certain qualifications to apply.


You or your family member that needs care must meet one of the following:

  • Current CalWORKS recipient
  • At risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation
  • In Child Protective Services (CPS)
  • Homeless
  • Recipient of Medi-Cal, CalFRESH, CFAP, WIC, Head Start or Early Head Start benefits
  • Recipient of the Federal Food Distribution Program in Indian Reservations

You may also be eligible if you meet income guidelines. You must use the income calculator to determine if you are a fit for assistance.

How to get help:

Employment help in San Diego

Check out this employment resource in San Diego, Ca.:

San Diego Workforce Partnership

The San Diego Workforce partnership helps people find careers, connecting businesses with job seekers. This partnership also finds ways to empower people to increase their opportunities through career guidance and grants to pay for education.


  • Any San Diego resident looking for work is welcome to connect

How to get help:

Charity organizations in San Diego

Here are some local San Diego charities that help single moms:

Bridge of Hope

If you are transitioning for any reason, such as former homelessness or surviving domestic violence, Bridge of Hope provides a safe space to make a plan for your future. The nonprofit provides furniture, clothing, food and household goods to help you get back on your feet.


How to get help:

San Diego Nice Guys

San Diego Nice Guys gives back to the community by helping neighbors in need. They raise money to help people with medical bills, car repairs, clothing, wheelchairs, or anything else families need when they fall on hard times.


  • Anyone in San Diego with a need due to hardship is welcome to apply for financial help

How to get help:

Bella’s House of Hope

Bella’s House of Hope supports single parents of special needs children.

They help with:

  • Finding housing stability
  • Navigating social services applications
  • Providing support groups
  • Financial assistance as needed
  • Connecting with community partners to meet your family’s needs
  • Legal aid
  • Employment services


  • Each applicant is screened on a case-by-case basis, all San Diego-based single parents with special needs children are encouraged to apply

How to get help:

Help for single moms in San Jose, California

The following resources serve residents of San Jose, Ca.:

Transportation help in San Jose

If you live in San Jose, this resource may help you reduce costs on local travel:


Caltrain offers several reduced fare programs to help riders save money on public transit:

  • Promotional fares: Caltrain offers seasonal discounts or rides and parking
  • Discount fares: If you are a senior 65 and over, disabled, under 18 or a Medicare card holder, you can get half-price fares
  • $1 youth rides: Children up to age 18 pay $1 each way on Captrain transit
  • Day passes: Family and group day passes allow you to pay one price for unlimited travel
  • Go Pass: Pay one annual fee and get unlimited travel at just $275 a year ($99 for college students)


  • Each discount fare program has its own requirements and application process

How to get help:

  • Call 800-660-4287

Electric bill help in San Jose

This resource in San Jose can help with utility assistance:

San Jose Water Customer Assistance Program 

The San Jose Water customer assistance program offers a 15% discount for eligible low-income customers.


  • You must be responsible for the water bill 
  • You are not a dependent on another person's tax return 

How to get help:

Child care help in San Jose

Check out this child care resource available to parents in San Jose: 

Choices for Children

Choices for Children helps parents pay for child care and identify services to help children learn and grow in safe spaces. It's a great resource for working or student parents who need child care but are struggling with the cost. 


How to get help:

  • Call 408-297-3295

Employment help in San Jose

Check out these employment resources in San Jose, Ca.:

JobTrain San Jose Career Center

The JobTrain San Jose Career Center helps job seekers look for employment, practice interview techniques, build resumes, and explore career paths. You can also use laptops, printers and other technologies to help with your job search. 


  • All San Jose residents over 18 are welcome to use the free career services

How to get help:

Charity organizations in San Jose

Here are some local San Jose charities that help single moms:


WANDA helps low-income single moms save money and increase their educational opportunities through a three-year program. Women in the program have been able to buy homes, pay for college and fund retirement accounts. It’s a nonprofit dedicated to financial self-sufficiency and career advancement for single moms.


  • Single moms in the San Mateo County or Santa Clara County
  • Meet household income limits
  • Head of household on your tax return
  • Has at least one dependent 18 years old or younger
  • Employed or has work study income
  • Less than $30,000 in personal assets

How to get help:

Maintenance for Moms 

Maintenance for Moms provides one-time car repair help for single moms in Santa Clara County.


  • Single mom residing in Santa Clara County 
  • Valid driver's license
  • Current car registration and insurance
  • Current residential address
  • Proof of financial hardship 

How to get help:

Help for single moms in San Francisco, California

The following resources serve residents of San Francisco, Ca.:

Housing help in San Francisco

If you need housing help in San Francisco, here is an option:

Season of Sharing (SOS) Program

The SOS program offers emergency financial assistance to pay for housing or other critical family needs. This is one-time help for San Francisco residents facing an urgent hardship. However, you may reapply if five years have passed since you received help.

The SOS program offers the following assistance:

  • Overdue rent or mortgage
  • Future rent payments
  • Move-in assistance (security deposit or first month's rent)
  • Furniture assistance
  • Paying for medical bills or equipment
  • Paying past due utility bills 


  • Current resident of San Francisco
  • 18 or older
  • Income at or below 50% of the area median income for household size
  • Applied for San Francisco Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)
  • Proof of financial hardship within the past six months 

How to get help:

Transportation help in San Francisco

Looking for discounts on transit in San Francisco? Check out this resource:

Clipper START

This transportation option helps people who live in the Bay area. If you are a low-income rider you can get a reduced fare through 2025. Your discount ranges between 20-50% off of regular fares.


  • Live in the San Francisco Bay area
  • Be 19-64 years of age
  • Earn up to 200% of the FPL
  • Not be eligible for the RTC Clipper Card for people with disabilities

How to get help:

Medical and dental care help in San Francisco

If you are looking for medical or dental care in San Francisco, check out these resources:

Clinic by the Bay 

If you are uninsured living in the San Francisco Bay Area, and you work, you can get free healthcare at Clinic by the Bay if you meet eligibility guidelines. All services are provided on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


How to get help:

Smiles For All

South San Francisco Dental Care offers a day of free dental care called Smiles For All. This event is offered periodically in the Bay area.


  • 18 years or older 

How to get help:

Food help in San Francisco

Here is a food resource local to San Francisco:

Eat SF Fruit and Vegetable Voucher Program 

The Eat SF Vouchers for Veggies program provides low-income households with free vouchers to buy fresh or frozen produce at participating Eat SF stores.


You cannot apply to the program directly. You must obtain vouchers through health clinics, supportive housing agencies, senior centers, and other Eat SF partners. Ask your case worker or community action group for assistance or dial 211 from your landline or cell phone.

How to get help:

Child care help in San Francisco

Check out this child care resource available to parents in San Francisco: 

Children's Council San Francisco 

If you need help paying for child care, Children's Council San Francisco offers financial assistance for qualified low-income families. Depending on your income, you may receive a full or partial subsidy for child care.  


How to get help:

Employment help in San Francisco

Check out these employment resources in San Francisco, Ca.:


San Francisco Human Service Agency’s JobsNOW! is a free program that helps eligible job seekers land a new position or get training to pursue a career. The program will either match you with the right employer or give you a voucher to help you find a job on your own. Upon being hired, the City of San Francisco will subsidize your salary for up to six months.


  • Current San Francisco resident
  • Authorized to work in the U.S.
  • 18 years or older
  • CalWORKS, CalFresh, or Medi-Cal recipient or a formerly in foster care
  • Household income less than 300% of the FPL or receiving unemployment benefits

How to get help:

Charity organizations in San Francisco

Here are some local San Francisco charities that help single moms:

Help a Mother Out

Help a Mother Out provides free diapers to mothers in need through partner organizations and diaper banks, including the San Francisco Diaper Bank.


  • Partner organizations and diaper banks have their own eligibility requirements

How to get help:

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