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Help for single moms in North Carolina: 33 assistance programs

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If you’re a single mom in North Carolina 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
1$15,060
2$20,440
3$25,820
4$31,200
5$36,580
6$41,960
7$47,340
8$52,720

* 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 North Carolina

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

Work First (WF) in North Carolina

WF — North Carolina's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program — provides cash payments to families with children. A family of three can get up to $272 a month. The program also helps people find and stay at a suitable job.

Qualifications:

  • North Carolina resident
  • U.S. citizen or qualified immigrant
  • Care for a minor child
  • Willing to participate in work activities
  • Income at or below 200% of the FPL

How to get help:

Apply at your local Department of Health and Human Services (DSS).

More emergency cash help in North Carolina: 

Single moms in North Carolina can visit 211.org 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 North Carolina

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

Rental assistance in North Carolina

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

Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8) in North Carolina

Section 8 gives low-income families in North Carolina vouchers they can use to pay for approved rental homes or units. 

Qualifications:

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

How to get help: 

Housing Stability Counseling Program

This program connects people in North Carolina who are facing eviction with resources, like foreclosure assistance or help paying utilities. 

How to get help: 

Email the Housing Stability Counseling Program.

Mortgage assistance in North Carolina

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

NC Homeowner Assistance Fund

This program helps North Carolina homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments catch up and keep their homes. It also pays housing-related costs, like property taxes or homeowner’s insurance. 

Homeowners can get up to $40,000 in aid.

Qualifications:

  • Primary residence in North Carolina 
  • Past due mortgage or other housing bills
  • Income below $90,000/year
  • Experienced a financial hardship due to the pandemic          

How to get help: 

NC Home Advantage Mortgage

This mortgage program gives North Carolina residents affordable, fixed-rate loans to buy their homes. Homebuyers can also get down payment assistance of up to $8,000 that does not need to be repaid if they keep the home and do not refinance it before 15 years. 

Qualifications:

  • North Carolina homebuyer
  • U.S. legal resident
  • Home is the principal residence
  • 640 or higher credit score
  • Use a participating lender            
  • Income at or below $126,000

How to get help: 

Find a participating lender.

Community Partners Loan Pool (CPLP)

CPLP offers a loan up to $50,000 or 25% of the sales price of a home to use for down payment assistance. Homebuyers must combine the payment with an NC Home Advantage Mortgage or USDA loan. You have to repay the loan in full after 30 years, but it does not accrue interest.              

Qualifications:

  • North Carolina homebuyer
  • Use a participating mortgage lender
  • Purchase price and income within limits
  • Complete homebuyer education and counseling

How to get help: 

Contact a CPLP partner.

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>

Homeless assistance in North Carolina

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

NC Emergency Solutions Grant

This grant program funds emergency shelters, rehousing services, and other North Carolina programs that prevent homelessness or help homeless people. A representative can connect you to resources in your area. 

How to get help: 

Continuums of Care (CoC) in North Carolina

The North Carolina CoC brings together several organizations that assist homeless individuals and families. CoC assesses and addresses the needs of the homeless to give them quick help, like food, shelter, and affordable permanent housing.

How to get help: 

Contact your nearest CoC agency.

More housing help: 

Electric bill assistance in North Carolina

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

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in North Carolina

LIHEAP gives eligible North Carolina families a one-time payment of up to $500, depending on the type of heating they have. The payment goes to the family’s heating company to reduce their bill.

Qualifications:       

  • North Carolina resident and U.S. citizen
  • Resources at or below $2,250
  • Responsible for the home’s heating costs
  • Income at or below 130% of FPL

How to get help:

Contact your local DSS agency to apply between January 1st and March 31st.

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) in North Carolina

WAP provides services to make homes more energy efficient and safe. North Carolina’s WAP services include: 

  • Installing fire detectors
  • Providing roof repairs
  • Sealing areas with air leakage
  • Tuning and repairing heating equipment

Qualifications:

  • North Carolina resident
  • Own a home or have landlord permission for weatherization services
  • Income at or below 200% of FPL

How to get help:

Contact your local weatherization agency.

More electric bill help: 

Free money to help pay bills

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in North Carolina

North Carolina single moms can get help paying for medical and dental care for themselves and their children through the following programs. 

Safety Net Dental Clinics

Safety Net Dental Clinics provide low-fee dental services to adults and their children with no dental insurance. The fees are on a sliding scale based on income and service.

Qualifications:

Each dental clinic has its own eligibility criteria. 

How to get help: 

Contact your local Safety Net Dental Clinic.

North Carolina Missions of Mercy Foundation 

The North Carolina Missions of Mercy Foundation offers two-day dental clinics with free dental services like cleanings, fillings, and exams. Services are available on a first-come, first-serve basis for anyone needing treatment. 

How to get help: 

Visit the website to find an upcoming Missions of Mercy event.

North Carolina Medicaid

North Carolina Medicaid gives eligible parents and families affordable health insurance coverage for necessary services, like prescriptions, check-ups, and emergency visits. 

Most families will need to pay co-pays based on the service, like $4 per prescription or $4 per doctor visit.

The program also has coverage specifically for pregnant and postpartum women that includes home visits, emotional support, and childbirth education.

Qualifications:

  • North Carolina resident
  • U.S. citizen with a Social Security number
  • Meet income guidelines for a specific program

How to get help:

NC Health Choice

NC Health Choice is Medicaid for children ages 6 to 18 whose families may be over the income limits for regular Medicaid. It covers the same services for children that Medicaid would.

Qualifications:

  • North Carolina resident
  • U.S. citizen with a Social Security number
  • Child between 6 to 18
  • Income between 133% and 211% of the FPL

How to get help:

Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program in North Carolina

The federal VFC program gives free vaccines through participating providers. 

Qualifications:

Children must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Eligible for Medicaid
  • No health insurance
  • Underinsured
  • American Indian or Alaska Native

How to get help: 

  • Use the Vaccine Locator to find a participating provider in North Carolina.
  • See if your child’s doctor is a VFC provider
  • Visit your local health department

North Carolina MedAssist free statewide pharmacy

NC MedAssist bills itself as the only nonprofit pharmacy that serves the entire state of North Carolina. The pharmacy is able to dispense prescription and over-the-counter medication to residents who cannot afford it. All eligible patients will receive help for up to one year.

Qualifications:

  • North Carolina resident
  • Uninsured (exception Medicaid recipients with family planning and Medicare patients with a Part D coverage gap)
  • Household income is at or below 300% of the federal poverty guidelines

How to get help:

  • Apply
  • Call 866-331-1348

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in North Carolina

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

North Carolina Food and Nutrition Services

This program is North Carolina’s version of food assistance, better known as SNAP. A family of three can get up to $740 per month to pay for food, loaded onto an electronic benefits (EBT) card. See how much your family might be eligible for.

Your EBT card can be used like an ATM card in retail food stores to purchase food, 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

Qualifications:

  • North Carolina resident
  • Social Security numbers for all household members
  • Initial applicants have income at or below 130% of FPL
  • People gaining a job or increasing their income while receiving food benefits need income at or below 200% of FPL

How to get help: 

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in North Carolina

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. 

Qualifications:

  • 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: 

Contact a local WIC agency.

National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program in North Carolina

The Office of School Nutrition helps carry out the federal school lunch and breakfast programs in North Carolina. These programs help students get free or reduced-price lunches and breakfasts while in school.

Some participating schools with after school programs may also participate in the Afterschool Snack Program to provide nutritious snacks to students in these programs and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to give children fresh produce with their meals.

Qualifications: 

  • Students at participating schools
  • Income at or below 130% of the federal poverty guidelines for free meals or 185% for reduced meals

How to get help: 

  • Contact your child’s school for more information
  • Call 984-236-2910

Summer food programs in North Carolina

North Carolina participates in both the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO). These programs help children access healthy lunches over summer vacation.

Qualifications: 

  • Children 0 to 18
  • 18+ with a disability
  • Income at or below 185% of the federal poverty guidelines

How to get help: 

Feeding the Carolinas

This organization partners with food distribution centers in North and South Carolina to help residents get the food they need for their families. 

Qualifications: 

Each food bank has its own requirements for eligibility.

How to get help: 

Find a local food bank in North Carolina.

More food help: 

Child care help for low-income families in North Carolina

North Carolina single moms can find financial help for child care from these programs:

Child Care Subsidy Program in North Carolina

Parents in North Carolina who need child care while they work or go to school can get most of their costs covered through this program. Most families pay only 10% of their child care costs.

The program has higher income limits for families with children 0 to 5 years old. For instance, a single parent with one child aged 0 to 5 can make $3,052 per month to qualify, while a single parent with a child aged 6 to 12 is eligible if they make $2,029 per month or less. 

Qualifications: 

  • Child 12 or under
  • Employed, attending school, or participating in job training
  • Income at or lower than 133% of the FPL for a child 6-12 or 200% of the FPL for a child 0-5 when applying
  • Income at or below 85% of the state median income to maintain eligibility

How to apply: 

Contact your nearest child care assistance office.

North Carolina 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. 

Qualifications: 

  • Child under 3 for Early Head Start or 3 to 5 for Head Start
  • Income at or below FPL

How to apply: 

Locate a Head Start or Early Head Start program near you.

More child care help

Education help for single moms in North Carolina

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

High School Equivalency (HSE) in North Carolina

North Carolina single moms who have not earned their high school diploma can take the General Educational Development Test (GED) or HiSET exam to get an equivalent credential. 

GED in North Carolina is a 4-subject test that costs:  

  • $20 per subject at a test center (will increase to $26 July 1, 2023)
  • $36 per subject online

HiSET is a 5-subject test that costs: 

  • $53.75 for a computer-based exam
  • $75 for a paper test 

People under 18 can take the tests with approval from a parent or guardian. 

Forgivable education loans for service

This loan program gives up to $7,000 for undergraduate degree programs and up to $14,000 for graduate degree programs. Borrowers who commit to entering an underemployed field in North Carolina will not have to pay back the loan.

Qualifications: 

  • North Carolina resident
  • 3.0 high school GPA or 2.80 undergraduate GPA
  • Register with Selective Service System
  • Enroll in college at least part-time
  • Maintain college grades
  • Work in North Carolina in a field with an employment shortage
  • Not be in default with another loan program

How to get help: 

Complete a FELS application when open for the upcoming school year.

Grants and scholarships in North Carolina

The College Foundation of North Carolina hosts an online database of scholarships and grants for anyone seeking financial help for college. Use the Scholarship Search and filters to find help for your specific situation.

More education help: 

Employment help for single moms in North Carolina

Workforce programs in North Carolina provide training and assist with employment:

North Carolina unemployment benefits

Single moms in North Carolina who are unemployed or laid off can get cash assistance while they look for work. The state pays up to $350 per week for 12 weeks. 

Qualifications: 

  • Not at fault for losing a job
  • Quit a job for good reason
  • Earn enough income during the qualifying period
  • Search for work
  • File weekly claims

How to get help: 

File a claim online through the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

NCWorks

NCWorks helps people in North Carolina find suitable work or job training centers with free or affordable programs. Using this site can also help fulfill work search requirements if you’re getting unemployment benefits. 

How to get help: 

Sign up for an NCWorks account.

More employment help: 

Charity organizations in North Carolina

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

Family Support Network (FSN) of North Carolina

FSN helps families with children with special needs or mental health challenges. The charity provides:

  • Support groups
  • Referrals
  • Help finding local, state, or federal resources to help with money, food, education, and other family needs

Qualifications: 

Various FSN agencies around the state have their own services, programs, and eligibility requirements.

How to get help: 

Contact an FSN agency in your county.

The Salvation Army of North Carolina

Salvation Army locations in North Carolina offer numerous services to help their communities. Families can get assistance with the following:

  • Food donations
  • Skill building
  • After-school care and activities
  • Domestic violence support
  • Holiday gift help
  • Clothing assistance
  • Religious or spiritual help
  • Disaster relief
  • Help paying bills
  • Mental health support

Qualifications: 

Each Salvation Army location in North Carolina may provide different services with various eligibility requirements. 

How to get help: 

Visit the Salvation Army website to find your local chapter. 

Catholic Charities of North Carolina

Catholic Charities assist with:

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

Qualifications: 

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

How to get help: 

Find your local Catholic Charities branch

United Way of North Carolina

Dozens of United Way agencies in North Carolina can help families get the support they need, including:

  • Help paying bills
  • Food assistance
  • Community resources
  • Academic help for children
  • Finding or training for a job
  • Access to affordable medical and dental care

How to get help: 


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