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Help for single moms in Maine: 32 assistance programs

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If you’re a single mom in Maine 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 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 Maine

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

My Maine Connection

My Maine Connection, a self-service website focused on helping people find state resources, serves as the application and pre-screening tool for single moms looking to see if they qualify for various forms of state aid.

Temporary Cash Assistance in Maine

Maine’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program — provides cash assistance for qualifying pregnant women, families with children or to relatives who have court-ordered custody of a child placed in their home. The goal of the program is to help people pay for basic household expenses.

The amount paid out is based on household income and family size. For example, the maximum payout is $628 for a family of three. In addition to cash aid, benefits can also include child care and transportation assistance, job training and more. 


  • U.S. citizen or a qualified non-citizen
  • Permanent Maine resident
  • Have children under 18 or currently pregnant 
  • Children and mother must have social security number
  • Unemployed or underemployed and have low income
  • 18 years of age or younger and the head of your household

You may only receive TANF for up to 60 months throughout your lifetime. 

TANF-eligible single moms can also receive short-term monetary assistance through Alternative Aid Assistance. Voucher payments worth up to three months of TANF benefits are given to help single moms find or maintain employment and avoid the need for long-term TANF benefits. 

How to get help:

More emergency cash help in Maine: 

Single moms in Maine can also 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 Maine 

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

Rental assistance in Maine 

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

Housing Choice Vouchers 

Those needing rental assistance can apply for MaineHousing’s Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, which helps eligible tenants cover a portion of their monthly rent.


How much rental assistance you receive is based on the city or county where you live, your income, and the number of people in your household. See the current income guidelines to qualify for vouchers. 

  • MaineHousing gives priority to people who are homeless
  • You can be denied as a result of criminal activity or alcohol abuse

How to get help: 

The Section 811 Project Rental Assistance (PRA) Program

In partnership with MaineHousing, this Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program finds permanent housing for extremely low-income people with disabilities (limit is 30% of AMI). 

Mortgage assistance in Maine 

MaineHousing provides low fixed-rate mortgages and other assistance to help make homeownership affordable for more people in Maine. 

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

First Home Loan Program 

This home-buying program provides low fixed-rate mortgages to people who have not owned homes in the last three years. There are options with little or no down payment required, and if you still need help with cash for closing costs, there is also a down payment and closing cost assistance option called Advantage. 

MaineHousing mortgages also come with payment protection for unemployment. As long as you are a borrower in good standing, MaineHousing will advance up to four months of your mortgage payments, including taxes and homeowners insurance, if you lose your job. 


  • Meet income guidelines for your county — up to $134,600 for a family of three or more in Cumberland or York counties
  • House you want to buy is within purchase price limits for your county
  • Credit score of at least 640
  • Work with an approved, participating lender
  • Must be a first-time homeowner or have not held ownership interest in your principal home within the past 3 years
  • Limits vary depending on how many people live in your household and where in Maine you plan to buy your home
  • Must meet IRS definition of a first-time homebuyer, which means you can not have owned any other principal residence for three years prior to the date of purchase of the new principal residence       

If you are a veteran, retired military, or on qualified active duty, the first-time homebuyer requirement is waived and MaineHousing provides an interest rate reduction through the SaluteMe program.

How to get help: 

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>

Homeless assistance in Maine

Are you homeless or facing homelessness in Maine? Here are some helpful resources:

State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) 

The main goal of this department is to prevent Maine residents from experiencing homelessness. DHHS oversees agencies across the state that offer:

  • Emergency shelters
  • Transitional housing
  • Permanent housing
  • Counseling to acquire the necessary life skills to maintain permanent housing

How to get help: 

Stability through Engagement Program (STEP) 

STEP is designed to provide short-term rental assistance to those experiencing homelessness. 

How to get help: 

  • Visit the Maine DHHS website
  • Call DHHS at 207-287-3707 

More housing help: 

Electric bill assistance in Maine

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

Home Energy Assistance (HEAP) in Maine 

HEAP helps qualifying households with home heating and cooling costs, paid directly to utility companies. The agency does not assist with water, sewer, or telephone services. 

HEAP is not intended to pay your heating costs in full but can help to reduce them. The program is administered by the Maine State Housing Authority (MSHA) and your local Community Action Agency.

The Low-Income Assistance Program (LIAP) in Maine 

LIAP helps qualified low-income electricity consumers by providing a credit on their electric bills. Eligibility for LIAP is based on eligibility for LIHEAP. 

If your electric utility account is past due and you meet eligibility criteria, the Arrearage Management Program (AMP) can also help you reduce your past-due balance.


  • Household income at or less than 75% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
  • Responsible for paying your home heating or cooling bills
  • Resident of Maine 
  • U.S. Citizen, qualified alien, or permanent resident of the U.S.

How to get help:

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)

WAP helps low-income families lower their monthly energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Types of assistance include:

  • Installing carbon monoxide detectors
  • Removing mold
  • Replacing inefficient or unsafe heating units 
  • Insulating a single family home for energy efficiency


  • U.S citizen or a qualified alien
  • Resident of state of Maine 
  • Meet annual household income guidelines based on the number of people in your household

How to get help:

Contact your local Community Action Agency 

More utility bill help: 

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in Maine

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


MaineCare is Maine’s version of the Medicaid program, which provides free or low-cost health insurance for low-income residents that covers:

  • Doctor’s visits
  • Emergency room visits
  • Prescription drugs
  • Substance use disorder treatment
  • Surgeries
  • Vaccines
  • Vision and hearing 
  • Hospital stays
  • Dental care 


These are the eligibility guidelines for different individuals and families.

How to get help: 

Cub Care 

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Cub Care offers free and low-cost health insurance options for kids under 21 whose parents don’t qualify for MaineCare. Coverage includes:

  • Doctor visits
  • Surgeries
  • Vaccines
  • Vision and hearing 
  • Hospital stays
  • Dental care 


Families who earn up to 213% of the Federal Poverty Level, which is $4,413 a month for a family of four.

How to get help: 

  • Apply through My Maine Connection
  • Call DHHS at 855-797-4357 
  • Visit your local Office for Family Independence (OFI)

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)

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 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 Maine by typing in your address on HRSA’s search tool.

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in Maine

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

Maine Food Assistance Program (SNAP)

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 

A program called Maine Harvest Bucks allows you to use your SNAP benefits on fresh fruits and vegetables at designated farmer's markets, produce stands, CSAs, mobile markets, and community grocery outlets. For a current list of markets, visit the Maine Harvest Bucks website. 

You can use the SNAP benefits calculator to determine if you qualify and how much you could receive per month in SNAP benefits.


  • Maine resident
  • Gross income below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level or net income below 100% FPL 
  • Household members who are 18 to 59 years old must participate in work registration
  • Current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,001 or under $3,001

If you are above the gross income limits, you may still qualify based on net income and assets if share your household with one of the following:

  • Person or persons age 60 and over
  • Person with a disability (child, spouse, parent, yourself)

How to get help: 

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 800-342-3556 and say you want to apply for WIC. 

Free school meals

Starting in the 2022-2023 school year, Maine public schools are now required to provide free school meals to all students, regardless of their family's income.

How to get help: 

Apply online or contact your child’s school to enroll. 

Maine’s Summer Food Service Program

The Maine Department of Education 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. 

How to get help: 

Maine food banks

Food banks in Maine 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 Maine Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation website. 

More food help: 

Child care help for low-income families

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

Maine 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: 

Maine’s School Readiness Program

Maine’s School Readiness Program provides child care so a parent can work or attend a training or education program. Almost 80% of Maine school districts offer at least one public preschool classroom. 


  • Parent must be working or attending school
  • Child must be 4-years-old by October 15th

How to get help: 

Maine Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP)

CCSP helps eligible families to pay for child care so parents can work, go to school, or participate in a job training program.


  • Families must meet income guidelines
  • Parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must be currently employed, enrolled in school or a job training program, or retired.

How to get help: 

More education help

Education help for single moms in Maine

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

Get your High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) in Maine 

If you are at least 17 years old in Maine, you can take the HiSET test (which replaced the GED in Maine). If you are a resident of Maine, there is no fee to take the HiSET exam or retest. If you are a non-resident of Maine, the fee per subtest is $45.

The test is broken into five subjects:

  • Language Arts-Reading
  • Language Arts-Writing
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies

There are 10 testing centers in Maine. 

Before taking your HiSET, you must first pass the Official HiSET Practice Test at a local test center or provide evidence of preparation for testing. Local test centers may impose additional requirements concerning age waivers, initial testing, and retesting through local school board policies. 

Higher Opportunity for Pathways to Employment (HOPE)

The HOPE Program covers school-related costs for low-income individuals, whether you are seeking a short-term training certificate or an associate or bachelor's degree.


  • Parent or caretaker relative of a minor child who is living with you
  • Maine resident between the ages of 16 through 64
  • Meet the financial qualifications
  • Have been accepted to or are enrolled at least half-time in a qualifying training or education program. If you are enrolled less than half-time, the HOPE Program needs to grant special approval
  • No one in your family unit can be receiving a monthly TANF benefit
  • U.S. citizen or legal alien
  • Do not already have a marketable bachelor's degree
  • Are making satisfactory progress in your training or education program and you are on track to graduate

How to get help: 

Grants and scholarships in Maine

If you are currently in school or want to go back to school, check out these programs for financial aid: 

Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)

FAME is an independent state agency that helps people pay for higher education and business expenses. 

How to get help: 

The State of Maine Grant Program

This grant program provides need-based grants to Maine undergraduate students. For the 2022-2023 academic years, the maximum grant award amount is $2,500. You must attend an eligible college or university in Maine.

How to get help: 

Loan forgiveness in Maine 

The Maine Educational Opportunity Tax Credit

The Maine Student Loan Repayment Credit provides a $2,500 tax credit per year — $25,000 lifetime value — for people who live and work in Maine. The credit can be claimed on your Maine state tax return. Learn more about eligibility at, which for certain years requires that you attended a school in Maine. 

The Alfond Leaders Student Debt Reduction Program 

This program provides student loan repayment assistance to people who live and work in Maine in a STEM-designated occupation at a Maine-based employer.

Employment help for single moms in Maine

Workforce programs in Maine provide training and assist with employment:


The ASPIRE program helps TANF recipients find financial independence through job training, education, and employment services. Speak to your case worker to learn more. 

Maine Unemployment Insurance 

The Bureau of Unemployment Compensation provides temporary employer-funded benefits to eligible individuals while they seek re-employment. 


  • Lost your job through no fault of your own
  • Must be actively seeking work
  • Must be able and available to work
  • Must have enough work history and earnings in the past approximately 18 months to be “monetarily eligible,” which changes annually. 

How to get help: 

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 Maine

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

The Salvation Army of Maine 

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

How to get help: 

Visit the Salvation Army website to find your local chapter. 

Catholic Charities of Maine

Catholic Charities assists with:

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

For Northern Maine residents, Catholic Charities of Maine offers a Farm for ME program, which is designed to increase access to nutritious vegetables, reduce food insecurity and improve food sustainability. 

Mainers can also find a list of Catholic Charities food banks across the state here. 

How to get help: 

United Ways of Maine

United Ways of Maine connect 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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