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Help for single moms in Hawaii: 40 assistance programs

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

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 Hawaii poverty level. These are the 2024 Hawaii poverty guidelines: 

Number of people in family/householdAnnual income

* For families/households with more than 8 people, add $6,910 for each additional person.

You can also find your Area Median Income here.

Emergency cash for low-income families in Hawaii

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

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in Hawaii

TANF is a federally funded program that provides monthly cash payouts to help families in need pay for food, clothing, shelter, and other essentials.

Cash assistance is available for a lifetime total of 60 months for adults, though extensions may be granted in cases of domestic violence and physical/mental incapacity. Payouts are determined on a case-by-case basis.


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified non-citizen
  • Have children under 18 or under 19 if a full-time student
  • Income at or below 185% of FPL — $2,941/month for a family of three
  • Children must be deprived due to:
    • Continued absence from the home from at least one parent
    • Physical/mental incapacity of at least one parent
    • Death of a parent
  • Mother must apply for and accept other benefits such as:
    • Unemployment Compensation
    • Workman’s Compensation
    • Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI)
    • Child Support
  • Children and mother must have social security number
  • Children ages 6 to 17 who have not graduated high school or received equivalent certificate must attend school with satisfactory attendance
  • Preschool children must be immunized
  • Paternity of child must be established at application and when a child is added
  • Families are required to participate in Hawaii’s First-To-Work Program

How to get help:

Temporary Assistance for Other Needy Families (TAONF) 

TAONF is a state-funded program in Hawaii that provides assistance to families who would not qualify for TANF because of a lack of citizenship. All other eligibility requirements and payouts are the same. 

More emergency cash help in Hawaii: 

Single moms in Hawaii 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 Hawaii

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

Rental assistance in Hawaii

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

Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) in Hawaii

The ERA program assists households who are unable to pay rent or utilities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. ERA payments are made directly to the landlord or utility provider and can be used for:

  • Rental deficits and future rent payments
  • Delinquent and future utility and home energy payments
  • Other qualified expenses related to housing

Payout amounts vary by county. 


  • Household income of no more than 80% of AMI
  • One or more household individuals who qualifies for unemployment benefits or experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic
  • One or more individuals demonstrate a risk of homelessness
  • Priority is given to households with income of no more than 50% of the AMI and household members who have been unemployed for 90 days prior to applying

How to get help:

  • Each county has their own application process
    • Applications to the city and county of Honolulu are currently closed
  • Renters facing eviction can call the The Mediation Center of the Pacific at 808-521-6767

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.


  • Meet income limits specified by HUD — less than 50% of median income for the county in which you live
  • U.S. citizen or eligible immigrant
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Resident of the state of Hawaii

How to get help: 

  • Contact your local public housing agency and ask how to apply for assistance
  • Preliminary applications are accepted through the DCA Applicant Portal
  • Call 888-858-6085
  • To apply, you will need your Social Security number, third-party documentation of income, preliminary application form, and signed consent forms

Mortgage assistance in Hawaii

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

Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF)

As part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Hawaii received a total award of $50 million that was divided among the counties of Hawaiʻi, Kauaʻi, Maui and the island of Oʻahu. While the award was initially meant to help homeowners impacted by COVID-19, its goal is now to prevent: 

  • Mortgage delinquencies
  • Defaults
  • Foreclosures
  • Loss of utilities or home energy services

For those who qualify, the program may provide mortgage counseling, legal services, or cover up to $30,000 in mortgage or other qualified housing expenses. 


  • Income is at 150% of AMI
  • Priority given to those with incomes at 100% of AMI

How to get help: 

Contact your local program to learn how to apply: 

Down Payment Assistance Loan (DPAL)

Through this program, The Hawaii HomeOwnership Center (HHOC) helps renters pay for the upfront costs of purchasing their first home that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, including the down payment and closing costs. 

DPAL allows borrowers to purchase a home with only 5% down, and avoid mortgage insurance requirements. The maximum loan per applicant is $75,000, fixed for a 20-year amortization, due in 15 years.


  • Applicant is first-time home buyer
  • FICO Credit score of at least 700
  • Applicant must complete 9 hours of HHOC homebuyer education
  • Home being purchased must be applicant’s primary residence

How to get help:

  • Call the HHHOC office at 808-523-9500
  • Visit for more information

Hula Mae Mortgage Loan Program

Organized by the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC), this program assists first-time homeowners make their downpayment by offering 30-year mortgage loans at competitive interest rates to income-eligible applicants. 


  • Applicant is 18 years of age or older
  • Hawaii resident
  • Citizens or declarant aliens of the U.S.
  • First-time homebuyers
  • Property being purchased is applicant’s primary residence
  • Meet county income limits:
    • Honolulu County
      • 2 persons or less: $123,600
      • 3 persons or more: $144,200 
    • Maui County
      • 2 persons or less: $107,160
      • 3 persons or more: $125,020 
    • Kauai County
      • 2 persons or less: $98,880
      • 3 persons or more: $115,360 
    • Hawaii County
      • 2 persons or less: $88,080
      • 3 persons or more: $102,760

How to get help:

  • Call the Hula Mae information line at (808) 587-0567
  • Visit for more information

Honolulu's Down Payment Loan Program

Funded through the HUD, Honolulu provides applicants up to $40,000 in assistance funds in the form of a 0% interest second mortgage loan with a 20-year amortization term. 

If you request the $40,000 maximum loan, your monthly payment will be $166.67. However, the program provides a $2,000 occupancy credit (or 5% of the original loan amount) for each 12-month period you live in your home. For example, if you borrow $40,000 and make all your payments for 10 full years, you will receive a matching $20,000 credit at the end of the 10 years, reducing your payment period by half. 

If you sell your home, you’ll still receive an occupancy credit based on the number of full years you spend in the home, and you will still need to repay the remaining loan balance. 


  • U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident.
  • Gross annual household income cannot exceed 80% of AMI, based on your household's projected gross income for the next 12-months
  • Must be capable of obtaining a first mortgage loan from a commercial lender to finance the remaining portion of your home 
  • Must meet the definition of a first-time homebuyer:
    • Property you are buying must be your primary residence
    • Cannot have owned a residential property for the 3 years prior to the date of your loan application
  • Must contribute at least 5% toward the purchase price as part of the total down payment
  • Maximum purchase price of $632,000
  • Property must be residential and located on Oahu
  • Complete the HUD-certified homebuyer education course

How to get help: 

You must apply through your primary mortgage lender, who will submit an application on your behalf. Ask them to contact the Branch Chief, Alan Tamanaha, at 808-768-7076, for a preliminary eligibility screening.

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>

Homeless assistance in Hawaii 

If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness, you may be able to get help from the following programs: 

Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) Program – Partners in Care

The island of Oahu has been granted 494 Emergency Housing vouchers through the HUD. Partners in Care is no longer accepting applications for 2023, but check their website for future enrollment periods.


  • Homeless
  • At risk of homelessness
  • Fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking
  • Recently homeless

How to get help:

Housing First Program

Housing First provides permanent housing placement for chronically homeless Hawaii residents. Each island has its own provider:

How to get help:

Contact your island’s provider listed above.

HousingASAP Program

HousingASAP partners with community organizations to move homeless families into permanent housing and reduce the amount of time they spend in shelters. 

How to get help:

Rent to Work Program

This program provides short-term rental subsidy assistance for up to 24 months to people experiencing homelessness who are willing to earn money through employment.  

Participants follow an individualized employment and training plan that will help them: 

  • Maintain employment
  • Increase savings
  • Sustaining rental housing 
  • Transitioning to affordable housing 

How to get help:

Call 808-768-5727

More housing help: 

Electric bill assistance in Hawaii

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

Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) in Hawaii

LIHEAP is a federal program that provides qualifying low-income households with a one-time payment toward their utility bill in two ways: 

  • Energy Credit (EC) – The amount of credit is determined by the number of members in the household. Applicants must have an active electric account. Applications are only accepted during the month of June.
  • Emergency Crisis Intervention (ECI) – Similar to the EC except that a Notice of Disconnection must be submitted instead of a copy of an electric bill. Applications are accepted throughout the year.


  • Provide most recent electric bill
  • Proof you occupy the service address on the bill
  • Social Security numbers of all household members
  • ID for all adult members
  • Proof of citizenship status
  • Proof of gross annual income — $42,885 for a family of three

How to get help:

  • Download this application form
  • Read more at the LIHEAP website
  • Find more information by contacting one of the following offices:
    • O’ahu: 808-488-6834,
    • Maui County: 808-249-2970,
    • Hawaii Island: 808-731-7009,

Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP)

Hawaii’s HWAP provides weatherization services to low-income families to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Services may include:

  • Low-flow showerheads & faucet aerators
  • CFL or LED lighting
  • Advanced power strip
  • Hybrid heat pump water heater or solar water heater
  • Room air conditioners
  • Refrigerator replacement


  • Hawaii resident
  • People over 65 years of age
  • Families with one or more members with a disability
  • Families with children 5 and under
  • High residential energy users
  • Households with a high energy burden
  • Meet the household income requirements — $57,180 a year for a family of three 

How to get help:

Contact your local Weatherization Services Provider to apply.

Low-Income Household Water Assistance (LIHWAP) in Hawaii

Through a joint application with LIHEAP, LIHWAP provides eligible households with up to $1,000 to pay their water bills. Hawaii’s LIHWAP prioritize customers whose water or wastewater services have already been disconnected to restore services, and those with past-due balances on their water and wastewater bills to avoid disconnection of services.


Income must be at or below 150% of the FPL or 60% of the state median income.

How to get help:

More electric bill help: 

Free money to help pay bills

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in Hawaii

The following medical and dental services are available to qualifying individuals and families in the state of Hawaii:        

Aloha Medical Mission

This Honolulu-based volunteer organization provides free dental care to qualifying low-income Hawaii residents. Services include:

  • Exams
  • Cleanings
  • Fillings
  • Extractions 
  • Some root canals


  • Hawaii resident
  • Provide the following paperwork:
    • Pay stubs (last 3 months, which may be 6 bi-monthly pay statements) OR a copy of most recent income tax return (the year prior Tax Form 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ) OR 3 months of bank statements that show deposits
    • Determination letter from the Department of Human Services
    • Social Security notice of award letter
    • Unemployment benefit pay stubs (most recent month)
    • If homeless, a certification from IHS or another agency
  • Meet federal income guidelines — $26,490/year for a family of three

How to get help: 

Ala Moana Dental Care

This dental practice offers yearly membership to Hawaii residents without dental insurance for $14/month or $148/year, which includes: 

  • 3 oral exams (including x-rays)
  • 30% off all treatments, excluding cosmetic, implants, orthodontics and whitening

They also offer other plans with more services included that cost $24 and $34 a month.

How to get help:

  • Call 808-941-5555 to make an appointment
  • More information can be found on the Ala Moana website

Hawaii Medicaid, Med-QUEST

Med-QUEST (Quality, Universal Access, Efficiency, Sustainability, Transformation) provides free health care benefits to Hawaii residents who are eligible for Medicaid. Covered benefits include:

  • Doctor visits and services
  • Inpatient hospital medical and surgical services
  • Inpatient hospital maternity and newborn care 
  • Emergency and urgent care services
  • Durable medical equipment and medical supplies
  • Prescription drugs

Medicaid Fee-For-Service (FFS) provides coverage for individuals who are age 65 and over, or under age 65 who are blind or disabled. All other individuals are covered by QUEST.


  • Resident of Hawaii
  • U.S. national citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien
  • Have or get a Social Security number
  • Individuals with low-income
  • Pregnant women, infants, and children
  • Older adults
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Meet income guidelines, including:
    • Children: Up to 313% FPL
    • Pregnant Women: Up to 196% of the FPL
    • Parent/Caretaker relatives: Up to 105% of the FPL

How to get help:

Hawaii SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program)

Hawaii SHIP is a federally funded volunteer program that helps people register for Medicaid and answers any questions they might have. They offer free one-on-one virtual counseling.

How to get help:

  • Call the helpline at 808-586-7299 or toll free at 1-888-875-9229
  • Visit the HawaiiSHIP website for more information

Hawaii Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

This federally funded program provides low-cost health coverage to children whose families earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid. Benefits include:

  • Routine check-ups
  • Immunizations
  • Doctor visits
  • Prescriptions
  • Dental and vision care
  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital care
  • Laboratory and X-ray services
  • Emergency services

Premiums are $55 per month per child. Routine well visits and dental care are provided free of charge, but some copayments may exist for other services.


  • Children 0-19 living in Hawaii
  • U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident 
  • Meet income limits — $5,265 for a family of three

How to get help:

Check eligibility or apply directly on Hawaii’s MyBenefits website.

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) in Hawaii

HRSA, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, funds health centers that provide free or subsidized health and dental care to low-income people and those otherwise unable to access quality health care, like people living in rural areas.

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


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

How to get help:

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

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in Hawaii

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

Hawaii Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps)

USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as the Food Stamp program) provides food benefits and nutrition education to low-income households. 

SNAP recipients are issued an EBT card that can be used like an ATM card to purchase food in retail food stores, including:

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

Click here for a list of what you can and cannot buy


  • Hawaii resident
  • U.S. citizen
  • Household income is at or below 200% of FPL — $4,416/month for a family of three

How to get help: 

  • Applications can be submitted online or in-person at a local processing center
  • Visit the SNAP website or call 1-855-643-1643 for more information

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) 

TEFAP is a federal program that funds local food banks and soup kitchens for low-income Hawaii residents.


Household income is below 185% of FPL — $28,590/year for a family of three

How to get help: 

Call or visit your local food bank:

  • City and County of Honolulu: (808) 836-3600
  • Maui County: (808) 243-9500 
  • Kauai County: (808) 246-3809
  • Hawaii County: (808) 933-6030

Hawaii 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:

National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP)

NSLP provides nutritious, low-cost lunches to eligible children during their school day. An extension of the NSLP, the School Breakfast Program provides free or low-cost breakfast to eligible students. 


How to get help: 

Contact your child’s school to enroll.

Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program (FFVP)

FFVP provides school students with fresh fruits and vegetables. Visit Hawaii’s state website for more information.

Special Milk Program (SMP)

Provides milk to children attending schools/childcare centers that do not participate in other federal meal programs. Milk options include fat-free, low-fat, and lactose-free milk. Visit Hawaii’s state website for more information.

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)

A federal program that allows offers healthy meals to students during vacation periods and summer months. 


  • School food authorities (SFAs) participating in the NSLP or SBP are eligible to apply
  • Intended for students 18 and younger from low-income areas

How to get help:

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

CACFP provides reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks to children enrolled in child care and adults enrolled in adult day care centers. Visit Hawaii’s state website for more information.

More food help: 

Child care help for low-income families in Hawaii

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

Hawaii 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. Both programs are currently only available in Honolulu.

How to get help: 

The Child Care Connection Hawaii (CCCH)

CCCH helps low-income parents retain employment or further their education by supplementing the cost of DHS-approved child care providers for their children. A sliding scale based on household income determines how much each family will pay.


  • Child under 18 years old
  • Parents or caretakers are employed, attending school, or participating in job training 
  • Household income must not exceed 85% of the state median income — $5,867/month for a family of three
  • Completed application along with supporting documents, such as birth certificates, income verification, and an intake interview are required
  • Re-determinations for continued eligibility are conducted every 12 months

How to get help: 

The Preschool Open Doors (POD)

POD provides statewide subsidies for families sending their children to a licensed preschool. Funds and enrollment are limited in this program. Like CCCH, services are determined on a sliding scale.


  • Priority is given to underserved or at-risk children
  • Gross monthly income must not exceed the income limit for the family’s size — $4,680 for a family of three

How to get help: 

More child care help

Education help for single moms in Hawaii

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

Get a GED in Hawaii

If you are 18 years old, you can take the GED test in Hawaii. You may also be able to take the test at 16 or 17 with special permission from the school district where you live. There is no residency requirement to take the GED.

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 Hawaii: 

  • An online at-home test costs $43.50 per module
  • In person exams at a test center cost $37.50 per module

Grants and scholarships in Hawaii

FAFSA is used by colleges and scholarship organizations to determine a student’s eligibility for need-based federal financial aid. Federal and state grants are dependent upon the individual’s income, and is determined by the college or university’s financial aid department. More information can be found on the Hawaii Department of Education website.

More education help: 

Employment help single moms in Hawaii

Workforce programs in Hawaii provide training and assist with employment:

WorkHawaii (WH)

WorkHawaii offers job readiness services for residents who want to enter the workforce. A full list of services can be found on WorkHawaii’s website.

HireNet Hawaii

HireNet Hawaii provides a database of job postings for the Hawaiian islands, as well as offering resume building services and unemployment insurance assistance.

American Job Centers

The American Job Centers offer employment and training services, career counseling, and job search assistance. 

How to get help: 

More employment help: 

Charity organizations in Hawaii

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

Women in Need (WIN) Hawaii 

Since 1996, WIN has counseled women who have experienced domestic violence, homelessness, substance abuse or incarceration to pursue safe, healthy lives. Visit the Women In Need website for a full list of services.

The Salvation Army of Hawaii

The Salvation Army wears many hats. Chapters assist 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. Visit Hawaii’s branch to find out more information. 

How to get help: 

View Hawaii’s Salvation Army locations.

Catholic Charities of Hawaii

Catholic Charities assists with:

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

There are four chapters across Hawaii, located on O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island. 


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

How to get help: 

  • Apply for assistance on the Catholic Charities website or reach out to your nearest Catholic Charities branch
  • Call your local center:
    • O‘ahu: 808-521-4357
    • Hawai‘i: 808-961-7050
    • Maui: 808-873-4673
    • Kaua‘i: 808-241-4673

Aloha United Way

The Aloha United Way of Hawaii connects people in need with local resources like: 

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

How to get help: 

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