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Help for single moms in Massachusetts: 28 assistance programs

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If you’re a single mom in Massachusetts 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 2023 federal poverty guidelines: 

Number of people in family/householdAnnual income

* For families/households with more than 8 people, add $5,140 for each additional person.

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

Emergency cash for low-income families in Massachusetts

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

Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC)

TAFDC pays money to families to help them with necessities like food and shelter. Monthly payments are slightly lower for families who have a public housing subsidy, like Section 8. 

For instance, a three-person family living in public or subsidized housing can get up to $783 a month. The same family in private housing can get up to $823 per month. Find maximum benefit amounts for your household size on the TAFDC website.

TAFDC also gives eligible families: 

  • Referrals for free child care while attending school or going to work
  • One-time payments toward infant care
  • One-time clothing payments for children
  • Money for transportation to school and work

TAFDC reevaluates eligibility every year, but families must also notify the program of any income or household changes. A family can receive TAFDC for up to 24 months in a 5-year period.


  • U.S. citizen
  • Massachusetts resident
  • Have children 18 or younger or be a caretaker for a related child
  • Adhere to TAFDC Work Rules to find and maintain employment
  • Meet income limits, which are typically at or below 200% of FPL — $3,838 for a family of three

How to get help:

More emergency cash help in Massachusetts: 

Single moms in Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts

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

Rental assistance in Massachusetts

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

Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)

MVRP gives very low income people and families in Massachusetts vouchers to help pay their rent. The program is available for:

  • Tenant-based housing (eligible housing that the family already lives in)
  • Project-based subsidized housing (specific subsidized housing units)

People receiving tenant-based housing can get varied amounts based on their location, income, and household size. Project-based applicants must pay 35% or 40% of their adjusted gross income, while MRVP covers the rest of their rent.


  • Massachusetts resident
  • Have income at or below 80% of AMI

How to get help: 

Contact your nearest Local Housing Authority

Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) 

RAFT gives eligible families up to $10,000 to pay rent and other housing costs when they face eviction. The money can be used to move into a new home, pay overdue rent, or pay utilities.


  • Massachusetts resident
  • Income at or below 50% of AMI or at or below 60% if at risk of homelessness or domestic violence
  • Have a utility shutoff notice, eviction notice, or other proof of a housing emergency

How to get help: 

Apply online through the Massachusetts Emergency Housing Payment Assistance Portal.

Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) in Massachusetts

Section 8 is a federal program that gives money to states to help people afford housing. Massachusetts single moms can get Section 8 vouchers for participating rental homes or apartments. View the maximum rent amounts for specific areas of Massachusetts. 


Families must meet income requirements for their area based on their household size.

How to get help: 

Contact your nearest local housing authority.

Mortgage assistance in Massachusetts

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

Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF) in Massachusetts

HAF gives eligible homeowners up to $50,000 to pay past-due mortgage payments and other housing-related costs. 


  • Massachusetts homeowner
  • Income at or below 150% of the AMI
  • Experienced a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Use the home as the primary residence

How to get help: 

Apply online through the Massachusetts Homeowner Assistance Fund website.


MassHousing helps homebuyers get affordable financing for their homes. Eligible homebuyers can get up to $50,000 in down payment assistance and special mortgages with low interest rates. 

The organization also offers mortgage insurance that pays a homebuyer’s mortgage for up to six months if they lose their job. 


  • Own or in the process of buying a single-family home in Massachusetts
  • Use the home as your primary residence
  • Income less than $179,955 per year      
  • If getting a mortgage, meet specific mortgage requirements for underwriting

How to get help: 

Contact a MassHousing lender.

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>

Homeless assistance in Massachusetts

Emergency Shelter in Massachusetts

Emergency shelters in Massachusetts are available for families needing immediate housing.


  • Massachusetts resident
  • Have children under age 21 or be pregnant
  • At risk of homelessness
  • Meet income guidelines (varies by shelter)

How to get help: 

  • Call 866-584-0653
  • Visit a regional office that connects families with emergency shelters


HomeBASE gives families in emergency shelters financial assistance and support to pay for housing and related costs, like furniture and utilities. Each family gets specific help for their situation. 

How to get help: 

Call 866-584-0653 to learn how you can get assistance.

Continuum of Care in Massachusetts

CoC helps people avoid homelessness through rapid rehousing programs and by connecting them with permanent, affordable housing. 

How to get help: 

Call 617-573-1100.

More housing help: 

Electric bill assistance in Massachusetts

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

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

LIHEAP pays a portion of eligible households’ heating costs with direct payments to their energy provider. It also pays for deliverable fuel. 

People in subsidized housing can get up to $1,540 in deliverable fuel or up to $980 in heating costs. Those in unsubsidized housing can receive up to $2,200 in deliverable fuel or up to $1,400 in heating payments. View the maximum benefits for your household.

Applications open in October annually.


  • Massachusetts resident
  • Income at or less than 60% of the state median income — $68,511 for a family of three
  • Own or rent a home; renters can get payments even if heat is included in their rent

How to get help:

  • Apply online through the LIHEAP portal
  • Use the LIHEAP portal to find a local agency to apply in person
  • Call 800-632-8175

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) in Massachusetts

WAP helps low-income households get important repairs and upgrades to their homes that can lower energy costs. The program pays an average of $4,725 per family for covered services, which include:

  • Insulation
  • Energy-related repairs
  • Air sealing
  • Duct or pipe insulation
  • Efficiency evaluations

Applications open in October each year.


  • Massachusetts resident
  • Income at or below 60% of the Massachusetts estimated median income
  • Homeowner or tenant with a landlord’s permission

How to get help:

More electric bill help: 

Free money to help pay bills

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in Massachusetts

Single moms and their children can get health and dental insurance and assistance through the following programs.

Dental Lifeline in Massachusetts

People in Massachusetts who need medically necessary dental care may qualify for Dental Lifeline. The program partners with community dental clinics willing to offer free dental services to low-income people who can’t afford dental care.

How to get help: 

Massachusetts Free and Affordable Dental Clinics

Single moms can find free and affordable dental clinics for themselves and their children through the Massachusetts Dental Society. 


Each dental clinic sets its own rules and qualifications for patients.

How to get help: 

Contact a participating dental clinic in Massachusetts.


MassHealth is a combination of Massachusetts’ Medicaid program and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provide coverage for doctors visits, prescription drugs, hospital stays, and other essential medical services.


  • Massachusetts resident
  • U.S. citizen or qualified alien
  • Meet income guidelines, as described below:

Depending on the program, recipients can have income up to 400% of the FPL. CHIP covers children in families with income up to 300% of the poverty level. 

You can find more information about MassHealth income limits in this table.

How to get help:

Health Safety Net

This program pays acute care costs for low-income and underinsured families at participating community health centers. 

HSN becomes the second payer for people enrolled in MassHealth programs or those who have private insurance. However, uninsured and underinsured people can have HSN as their primary payer. 


  • Massachusetts resident
  • Income at or below 300% of FPL

Note: People with income up to 150% of the FPL can get free HSN coverage. People with higher incomes up to 300% of the poverty level can still qualify but will pay a deductible and prescription drug copayments up to $250 yearly. Deductible amounts equal the difference between 40% of the lowest adjusted gross income in the household and 200% of the FPL.

How to get help: 

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in Massachusetts

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

Massachusetts Food Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP benefits help Massachusetts families pay for food. A family of three can get up to $740 per month, depending on their income. Other monthly income limits and benefit amounts can be found on the Massachusetts SNAP website

Massachusetts also offers $40-$80 per month in incentives to eligible families who buy local produce. SNAP also connects adults to work programs and free nutrition classes and programs. 


  • Be a Massachusetts resident
  • Income limits, as defined in the linked table above

How to get help: 

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Massachusetts

WIC in Massachusetts gives pregnant women, moms, and their children money to buy healthy food and formula. The program also offers breastfeeding support, nutrition education, and connections to community programs.

Eligible WIC families can also qualify for discounts on internet, heating, and family activities.


  • 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: 

FoodSource Hotline

The FoodSource Hotline from Project Bread helps Massachusetts residents get food for their families. The program connects you to programs like SNAP or WIC and helps you find food pantries and other resources that can help.

How to get help: 

  • Call or text 800-645-8333
  • Use the live chat feature on the website

Free School Breakfast and Lunch in Massachusetts

School breakfasts and lunches are free for all school students during the 2022-2023 school year. However, this is not a permanent program.

In past years, Massachusetts has participated in the federal National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast programs, which provide free or reduced-price meals to eligible school children. Contact your school for more information.

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in Massachusetts

This program pays for meals for students in needy communities throughout the summer.


  • Communities qualify if they have 50% or more of their students getting free or reduced-price meals
  • Children and teens must be 18 or younger

How to get help: 

  • Contact your child’s school for more information
  • Search for a local distribution site on Project Bread

More food help: 

Child care help for low-income families in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has several programs to help single moms pay for child care and education programs for their children:

Child Care Financial Assistance in Massachusetts

This program pays some or all of a family’s child care costs while parents or caretakers work, look for work, or attend school or training. Some parents may need to pay a fee for assistance depending on their income. You can calculate your estimated fee using this online calculator.


  • Parents or caretakers must be participating in education or work activities
  • Income at or below 50% of the state median income, OR 
  • Income at or below 85% of the state median income if you have a child with special needs

How to apply: 

Massachusetts Head Start and Early Head Start

Head Start and Early Head Start help children from ages 0-5 access early education programs and resources. Early Head Start is for children up to age 3, while Head Start has programs for 3-5 year olds. 


  • Families must have a child aged 0-5
  • Most families have income at or below 130% of FPL

How to apply: 

More child care help

Education help for single moms in Massachusetts

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

High School Equivalency in Massachusetts

Massachusetts offers two credentials equivalent to a high school diploma if you didn’t graduate from high school — the GED and the HiSET.

  • GED: Covers language arts, mathematical reasoning, science, and social studies. Test-takers pay nothing for the first test and up to two retests, then $36.25 per test thereafter.
  • HiSET: Covers reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Massachusetts pays for the first test and the first two retests for each subject, then $19.75 for a computer test at a testing center, $24 for a paper test at a testing center, or $27.25 for an online at-home test.

How to get help:

Grants and scholarships in Massachusetts

Massachusetts offers several grants, scholarships, and loans for single moms to pay for college:

  • Grants: Grants do not have to be paid back. The MASSGrant and MASSGrant Plus programs are popular grants for undergraduates that pay tuition amounts leftover after financial aid and the student’s expected contribution.
  • Scholarships: Several scholarship funds in Massachusetts help students pay for college. The One Family Scholarship is one that could be useful for single moms, as it helps heads of households with low incomes pay for school.
  • Tuition waivers: Tuition waivers let schools waive some or all of a student’s tuition costs. For example, the Need-Based Tuition Waiver Program waives some or all tuition fees for financially needy students.
  • Loans: The Massachusetts No Interest Loan Program gives low-income students a 10-year loan for their education. Although the loan needs to be paid back, it has no interest.

How to get help:

Visit the official website of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to learn how to apply to each program.

More education help: 

Employment help for single moms in Massachusetts

Workforce programs in Massachusetts provide training and assist with employment:

Massachusetts Unemployment Benefits

Single moms in Massachusetts who lose their jobs or get laid off may qualify for unemployment benefits. Massachusetts pays benefits each week you’re eligible and submit a claim. 


  • Live in Massachusetts
  • Unemployed, laid off, or have reduced work hours
  • Complete at least three work search activities each week

How to get help: 

MassHire Department of Career Services

The MassHire Department of Career Services provides job search help and career development resources to people who are unemployed or looking for better work. 

How to get help: 

More employment help: 

Charity organizations in Massachusetts

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

The Salvation Army of Massachusetts

The Salvation Army plays a significant role in homelessness prevention and hunger relief across Massachusetts, among other programs and initiatives:

  • Financial assistance
  • Emergency shelter
  • Domestic violence support
  • Job training
  • Skill building for life and careers
  • Holiday gifts
  • After-school programs and activities
  • Food donations


Each Salvation Army location in Massachusetts determines eligibility for each of its services and programs. 

How to get help: 

Visit the Salvation Army Massachusetts website to find your local chapter. 

United Ways in Massachusetts

Single moms in Massachusetts can seek help from the United Way. The organization provides disaster relief, education support, housing assistance, and other community-based help for those in need. 

How to get help: 

Not your state? Select yours here:

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