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Help for single moms in Minnesota: 34 assistance programs

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

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

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

Qualifications are simple:

1. You're a single mom.

2. You need the money right now.

Fill out this form to apply:

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

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

Number of people in family/householdAnnual income

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

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

Emergency cash for low-income families in Minnesota

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

Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) 

MFIP — Minnesota’s name for their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program — provides cash assistance for qualifying families with children or to relatives who have custody of a child placed in their home. 

The amount paid out varies depending on household income and if you’re employed. A family of three can receive $1,189/month if the parent is not working. If the parent works full-time and receives $10.33/hour, they are paid $1,777/month. Payments are more if you work, and your cash assistance is decreased after one, six, and seven months if you don’t find work.

Families who apply for MFIP are usually enrolled in the Diversionary Work Program (DWP) first — a four-month program that helps parents find work immediately so they don’t need cash assistance. 

Cash assistance is available for a lifetime total of 60 months for adults.


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified non-citizen
  • Permanent Minnesota resident
  • Have children under 18 or under 19 if still enrolled in high school
  • Pregnant women  
  • Household income is at or below 200% of FPL — $4,143/month max income for a family of three
  • Family assets of $10,000 or less (does not include one car)
  • A child must be living in the home 
  • Children ages 6 to 18 must attend school

How to get help:

More emergency cash help in Minnesota: 

Single moms in Minnesota 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 Minnesota

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

Rental assistance in Minnesota

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

Housing Trust Fund (HTF) Rental Assistance 

HTF helps low-income Minnesota renters — who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless — pay for rent, security deposits, and other housing-related expenses. The program works with local Coordinated Entry (CE) systems to help renters find permanent, affordable housing. Renters may also select their own housing if it meets HTF Rental Assistance standards. 

People who qualify for HTF are expected to spend 30% of their income on housing, and the program will pay the difference. Assistance is available for up to five years but may be extended if renters aren’t eligible for Section 8 housing. 


Renters must meet with their local CE system for an assessment and referral to apply for HTF. Priority is given to High Priority Homeless (HPH) families, and the household income limit to qualify is typically below 30% of AMI.

How to get help: 

Contact your local CE system.  

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.


Vouchers and housing are based on household income and family size. You can find your county’s income limits on the HUD website

How to get help: 

Mortgage assistance in Minnesota

If you need help buying a home or paying your mortgage in Minnesota, the Minnesota Homeownership Center offers resources like:

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>

Family Homeless Prevention and Assistance Program (FHPAP)

The main goal of FHPAP is to prevent Minnesota residents from becoming homeless — or from having to return to homelessness — through services and financial assistance. Assistance can go toward rent deposits, rent and mortgage payments, or utilities. 


Local FHPAP providers determine eligibility and the amount of assistance a household can receive. Other requirements include:

  • Minnesota resident
  • Household income must be at or below 200% of FPL — $49,720/year max for a family of three
  • Household is homeless or at risk of homelessness 
  • Household has been affected by the housing crisis 

How to get help: 

Contact your local FHPAP provider.

More housing help: 

Electric bill assistance in Minnesota

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

Energy Assistance Program in Minnesota

Minnesota’s Energy Assistance Program helps qualifying households pay for past-due heat, electricity, and water bills, with funds paid directly to utility companies. Eligible households can receive up to $1,400, plus additional funds for emergencies. The average eligible household receives $500. 


  • Resident of Minnesota 
  • U.S. Citizen, qualified alien, or permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Household income is at or below 60% of the Minnesota state median income — $59,263/year max for a family of three
  • Responsible for paying your home heating or cooling bills

How to get help:

Contact your local Energy Assistance Program service provider.

Minnesota Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) 

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

  • Exterior walls and attic insulation
  • Air leakage reduction
  • Furnace, boiler, and water heater repair/replacement
  • Programmable thermostat installation 


  • U.S citizen or a qualified alien
  • Resident of Minnesota
  • Meet household income limits — $ 49,720/year max income for a family of three
  • Automatically eligible if you received SSI or TANF in the last 12 months

How to get help:

Contact your local Weatherization Assistance Program provider.

More electric bill help: 

Free money to help pay bills

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in Minnesota

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

Minnesota Dental Association low-cost dental care

The Minnesota Dental Association provides reduced-cost dental care to individuals who don't qualify for public assistance. 


Each individual clinic or program sets its own eligibility requirements. 

How to get help: 

Contact a reduced-cost clinic in the Twin Cities Metro Area or Greater Minnesota.

Medical Assistance (Minnesota’s Medicaid)

Medicaid provides medical coverage for low-income individuals and families. In Minnesota, most Medicaid recipients are enrolled in the Medical Assistance (MA) program, and most can choose a health plan based on the county they live in. 

The national Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is rolled into MA coverage for children under 19. MA also covers dental services for children. 

Adults 21 and older may qualify for the MA Cost Sharing Cost program, which includes a $3.80 monthly individual and family deductible and a $3 copay for non-preventive visits. Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA) is also available for folks who are not enrolled in a health plan. This is billed directly to the state on a fee-for-service basis.


  • Minnesota resident
  • U.S. citizen or a qualifying noncitizen
  • Each household member seeking coverage must have a Social Security number
  • Meet income limits — $63,332/year max income for a family of three

How to get help:

Apply for coverage on the MNsure website.


Low-income Minnesotans and their families may qualify for the state health care program, MinnesotaCare, instead of Medicaid. Families enrolled in MinnesotaCare pay a monthly premium based on their household income. Programs include:

  • MinnesotaCare for children under 19: Covers the majority of medical and dental services. 
  • MinnesotaCare for parents, caretakers, adults without children, and children 19 or 20 years old: Limited dental for nonpregnant adults and medical transportation coverage.
  • MinnesotaCare Cost Sharing and Limits: Some people 21 or older pay copays for services. Includes: $100 copay for ER visit, $30 for non-preventive visits, $250 inpatient hospital admission, $25 copay for eyeglasses, $15 for non-routine dental services. 


  • Minnesota resident
  • U.S. citizen or lawfully present in the U.S.
  • Meet the income limit — $46,060/year max for a family of three
  • Must not be enrolled in (or have access to) Medicare Part A and B

How to get help:

Apply for coverage on the MNsure website.

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

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in Minnesota

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

Minnesota Food Assistance Program (MFAP)

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

MFAP 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


  • Minnesota resident
  • U.S. citizen, qualified noncitizen, or a noncitizen lawfully residing in the U.S.
  • Not enrolled in the Minnesota Family Investment Program.
  • Household income must be at or below 200% of FPL — $49,720/year max for a family of three

How to get help: 

Minnesota 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: 

Free school breakfast and lunch

Starting with the 2023-24 school year, students in Minnesota schools will get free meals regardless of their ability to pay. This change is in effect for at least the next four years. 

Minnesota’s Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program serves nutritious meals at no cost to children during summer break. Food is distributed at local schools and nonprofits.. 


Must qualify for the NSLP. 

How to get help: 

  • Call the Minnesota Food HelpLine at 888-711-1151
  • Text Summer Meals to 914-342-7744

Minnesota food banks

Food banks in Minnesota 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 Feeding America website.

More food help: 

Child care help for low-income families

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

Minnesota Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)

CCAP helps pay for child care so a parent can work or attend a training or education program. Families on MFIP are given priority for CCAP. 


  • Minnesota resident
  • U.S. citizen or qualified non-citizen
  • Household meets annual income limit — $46,423/year max before taxes for a family of three.

How to get help: 

Minnesota 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: 

Minnesota School Readiness Program

Minnesota’s School Readiness Program provides services to prepare children for school and help parents find and keep long-term employment. School Readiness Programs services and support include: 

  • Professional development
  • Early learning standards and assessment
  • Scholarships 
  • PreK-3 alignment


  • Parent must be working or attending school
  • Child is at least three on Sept. 1
  • Families engage in a co-pay based on income and family size (fee is waived if unable to pay) 
  • Child meets at least one risk factor:
    • Qualifies for free or reduced lunch
    • English learner
    • Homeless
    • Has an individualized education program (IEP) or standardized written plan
    • School district or health and developmental screenings find child has risks that may impact learning

How to get help: 

Contact your local school district.

More education help

Education help for single moms in Minnesota

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

Get a GED in Minnesota

If you are at least 19 years old in Minnesota, you can take the GED test. You may also be able to take the test starting at 17 by submitting an Age Waiver Form.

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 Minnesota: 

  • Online at-home test – $36 per subject
  • In person at a test center – $30 per subject

The state of Minnesota will cover $10 for each subject when you take your first GED test (use code MNGED10 at check-out).

University of Minnesota Student Parent Help Center

If you are a single mom attending the University of Minnesota, the Student Parent Help Center offers multiple programs to help you as you pursue an undergraduate or graduate college degree.

Resources include:

  • Child care assistance grants
  • Community spaces  to study
  • Teen parent support and guidance
  • Support groups for student parents
  • Family activities and social events


  • Single parent
  • Current student at University of Minnesota (all campuses)

How to get help:

Grants and scholarships in Minnesota

Jeremiah Program

Jeremiah Program operates in several states including out of Minneapolis to offer grants and other support to low-income single mothers committed to earning a college degree.

The Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) connects students and prospective students with grants and scholarships available in Minnesota.

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. To find out which scholarships and grants you may be eligible for, visit the OHE website

Specific OHE grants and scholarships that can help single moms include: 

Minnesota State Grant

The Minnesota State Grant helps students in low- and moderate-income households pay for their education and related expenses. Grants can be renewed for six full-time semesters (or nine quarters) at more than 130 eligible Minnesota schools

The average grant amount is $2,603, but recipients may receive:

  • A minimum of $100/year
  • $7,845/year max at a public two-year college 
  • $12,345/year max at a private four-year college


  • Minnesota resident
  • Have not attended eight full-time semesters (or equivalent terms) 
  • At least 17 years old and graduated high school 
  • Must be enrolled as an undergraduate with at least three credits 
  • Attend an eligible institutions in Minnesota
  • Not in default on student loan

How to get help: 

Contact your school’s financial aid office to apply.

Postsecondary Child Care Grant Program

Minnesota’s Child Care Grant helps low-income college students with young children pay for child care so they can attend classes. Recipients can receive up to $6,500/year per child.


  • Minnesota resident
  • Enrolled in 1-12 credits per term (undergraduates) 
  • Enrolled in 1-6 credits per term (graduates)
  • Children are 12 years or younger
  • Children are 14 years or younger if special needs
  • Has not received child care grant funds for 10 semesters 
  • Not in default on student loan
  • Not receiving MFIP assistance

How to get help: 

Contact your school’s financial aid office to apply.

Employment help for single moms in Minnesota

Workforce programs in Minnesota provide training and assist with employment:

Minnesota Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program

This program provides unemployment compensation to eligible Minnesota workers who are out of work through no fault of their own. The weekly benefit amount is typically 50% of your average weekly income, with a maximum of $857.


  • Minnesota resident 
  • Unemployed at no fault of your own
  • Earned sufficient wages during a 52-week period (sufficient wage amount determined at application)
  • Actively looking for another job

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 Minnesota

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

Emerge Mothers Academy

Emerge Mothers Academy is a Minnesota-based nonprofit serving the Twin Cities. It provides several services to help single moms including:

  • Work preparation
  • Financial education
  • Parenting classes
  • Social support
  • Business mentorship


  • Single mom who resides in the Twin Cities

How to get help:

One City Minnesota

One City Minnesota offers resources to help single parents navigate raising children, working, housing, and getting an education. The nonprofit also assists with medical care and emergency issues like evictions and food insecurity.


  • Single parent living in the Twin Cities metro area

How to get help:

The Salvation Army of Minnesota

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 Minnesota

Catholic Charities assists with:

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

There are four chapters across Minnesota: 

  • Catholic Charities Diocese of New Ulm 
  • Catholic Charities Diocese of St Clout
  • Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota (based in Winona)
  • Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis 

How to get help: 

Reach out to your nearest Catholic Charities branch.

United Way of Minnesota

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

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

How to get help: 


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

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