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Help for single moms in Virginia: 33 assistance programs

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If you’re a single mom in Virginia 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 Virginia

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

Temporary cash assistance in Virginia

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

The amount paid out varies depending on household income. For example, the maximum monthly TANF benefit for a family of three is $482, according to the Virginia Department of Social Services. 

Cash assistance is available for a lifetime total of 48 months for adults. Children living with a relative may be able to receive assistance for a longer period of time. 


  • U.S. citizen or a qualified non-citizen
  • Virginia resident
  • Have children under 18 or under 19 if still enrolled in high school 
  • Children and mother must have social security number
  • Household gross income must be less than the federal poverty level 

How to get help:

  • Apply on the Common Help website
  • Contact the Virginia Department of Social Services at 804-726-7385
  • In-person at your local DSS Office

More emergency cash help in Virginia: 

Single moms in Virginia 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 Virginia

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

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 Virginia 

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

Virginia Housing Homebuyer Program

Virginia Housing offers a homebuyer program with 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loans for first-time homebuyers. These loans can be offered as FHA, VA, USDA, and conventional loans. Find a list of all the loans, grants, and programs on the Virginia Housing website.


  • Credit score of at least 620
  • Work with an approved, participating lender
  • Take a homebuyer education course 
  • Find income and purchase price limits here
  • 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                                                                                                

How to get help: 

Virginia Housing Down Payment Assistance Grant

Virginia Housing offers down payment assistance in the form of a grant — meaning it doesn’t have to be repaid — of 2% to 2.5% of the purchase price of the home.


How to get help: 

Virginia Housing Closing Cost Assistance Grant

The Closing Cost Assistance Grant provides money for closing costs — up to 2% of the purchase price — that never has to be repaid. Homebuyers can pair it with a Mortgage Credit Certificate to make homeownership more affordable. 


  • First-time homebuyer or repeat buyer purchasing in Areas of Economic Opportunity
  • Have a Rural Housing Service (RHS) or Veterans Affairs (VA) loan from Virginia Housing
  • Household income within Virginia Housing’s income limits
  • Within Virginia Housing’s sales price/loan limits

How to get help: 

Virginia Housing Plus Second Mortgage

This loan pairs a Virginia Housing mortgage with a second mortgage to cover the cost of a down payment. The second mortgage is a 30-year, fixed-rate loan with no prepayment penalty. 

The amount of the second mortgage will depend on the homebuyer’s credit score and the type of first mortgage they receive. Buyers with credit scores of 680 and above can also borrow an additional 1.5% above the purchase price to cover closing costs.


  • First-time homebuyer or repeat buyer purchasing in Areas of Economic Opportunity
  • Have an FHA or Conventional / Conventional No MI loan from Virginia Housing
  • Have a household income within Virginia Housing’s income limits
  • Be within Virginia Housing’s sales price / loan limits
  • Have a minimum of 1% of the sales price documented and available to be used toward closing costs/prepaid items or to be held in reserves (or a combination of the two)

How to get help: 

HOMEownership Down Payment and Closing Cost Assistance program (DPA)

Various nonprofits fund DPA, which provides down payment assistance grants with a requirement to occupy the house as their primary residence for a set number of years, based on the amount received:

  • $1,000 to $14,999 – 5 years
  • $15,000 to $40,000 – 10 years
  • Amounts over $40,000 – 15 years

If the homebuyer sells or refinances the property before the occupancy period ends, DPA assistance must be repaid in full.

Eligible homebuyers can receive up to 10% of the sales price in down payment assistance (within the established approved areas by DHCD), plus up to $2,500 toward closing costs. In high-cost or chronically economically-distressed localities, buyers can receive up to 20% in assistance.


  • First-time homebuyer
  • Household income cannot exceed 80% of AMI
  • Must provide 1% of the sales price personal income or a contribution of $500 if the annual household income is below 50% of AMI
  • Receive homeownership counseling from a HUD-certified agency and HUDcertified Housing Counselor
  • Complete a HUD-certified homebuyer education course
  • Good credit history with at least 3 trade lines open and a median credit score of 620 or higher 

How to get help: 

Contact a DPA local provider that serves your area.

Check today's mortgage loan rates >>

Homeless assistance in Virginia

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

The Virginia Homeless Solutions Program

The main goal of the program is to prevent Virginia residents from becoming homeless — or from returning to homelessness. The program offers services including:

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


  • Household income 30% below AMI
  • Household lacks the financial resources and support needed to remain in existing housing without assistance

How to get help: 

More housing help: 

Electric bill assistance in Virginia

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

Energy Assistance in Virginia

The Virginia Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps low-income households with heating and cooling costs. The EAP offers four types of assistance: 

  • Fuel assistance
  • Crisis assistance
  • Cooling assistance
  • Weatherization assistance


  • Gross monthly income may not exceed 150% of FPL
  • Responsible for paying your home heating or cooling bills
  • Virginia resident 
  • U.S. Citizen, qualified non-U.S. citizen 

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
  • Virginia resident 
  • Meet annual household income guidelines based on the number of people in your household — $57,496/year for a family of three
  • Automatically eligible if you are receiving SSI, TANF or Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits

How to get help:

More electric bill help: 

Free money to help pay bills

Medical insurance and dental help for single moms in Virginia

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

Virginia Dental Association

The Virginia Dental Association connects residents with free or low-cost dental services, education, and more. 

You can use this tool to find a dental clinic near you, or check out this list of free dental services


Each individual clinic sets its own eligibility requirements. 

How to get help: 

Call the VDA at 804-288-5750. 

Mission of Mercy (MOM) project

The Mom Project provides dental care for underserved Virginians throughout the state.


Each individual clinic or program sets its own eligibility requirements. 

How to get help: 

Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) in Virginia

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

Virginia Medicaid

Cardinal Care, Virginia’s Medicaid program, provides medical coverage for low-income individuals and families. In Virginia, Medicaid benefits include:

  • Managed Medical Assistance (MMA) – Covers medical services like doctor visits, hospital care, prescription drugs, mental health care, and transportation for medical needs for adults and children 
  • Long-term Care (LTC) – Covers care in a nursing facility, assisted living, or at home (must be at least 18 years old and require nursing home-level care or hospital-level care if you have cystic fibrosis)
  • Dental – Covers all dental services for children and adults


  • Virginia resident 
  • U.S. national citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien
  • Meet income requirements — $3,067 for a family of three

Plus, you must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Pregnant
  • Caretaker for a child 18 or younger
  • Member of the household has a disability, including blindness
  • 65 or older

How to get help:

Virginia FAMIS

Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS) is Virginia's health insurance program for children, meant to cover children of families who don’t qualify for Medicaid. FAMIS covers these services:

  • Dental care
  • Well visits for babies and kids 
  • Other doctor visits
  • Emergency care
  • Hospital visits
  • Mental health care
  • Prescription medicine
  • Tests and x-rays
  • Vaccinations
  • Vision care

There are no enrollment costs or monthly premiums for FAMIS. At this time, there are no co-pays for any FAMIS covered services. 


  • Virginia resident 
  • Uninsured 
  • Under age 19
  • U.S. national citizen, permanent resident, or legal alien
  • Meet income requirements — $4,247 for a family of three

How to get help:

Virginia Healthy Start

Healthy Start Loving Steps provides home visits to educate parents and coordinate care for people who need it. Healthy Start Loving Steps services include:

  • Personalized visits and support 
  • Prenatal care and parenting 
  • Help with conception 
  • Stress management
  • Local resources and assistance


Pregnant women and parents of children under three years old are eligible for Virginia Healthy Start services. 

How to get help: 

More medical/dental help: 

Food help for low-income families in Virginia

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

Virginia 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 


  • Virginia resident
  • Meet income eligibility requirements 
  • Current bank balance (savings and checking combined) under $2,750 or under $4,250 and 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: 

  • Apply for WIC online 
  • Call 888-942-3663 or 877-835-5942 

National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program

NSLP serves healthy, well-balanced, reduced-price or free meals to children in school. 

An extension of the NSLP, the School Breakfast Program provides free or low-cost breakfast to eligible students. Schools with at least 80% of the students eligible for free or reduced-price meals must provide breakfast at no cost to all students. 


Household income must fall at or below the limits of the federal income eligibility guidelines.

How to get help: 

Contact your child’s school to enroll. 

Virginia’s Summer Food Service Program

The Virginia 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: 

Virginia food banks

Food banks in Virginia 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 Virginia website.

More food help:

Child care help for low-income families in Virginia

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

Virginia 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 
  • Income under FPL
  • 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 FPL
  • Pregnant women can also receive prenatal and postpartum information, education, and services through Early Head Start

How to apply: 

More child care help

Education help for single moms in Virginia

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

Get a GED in Virginia

If you are at least 18 years old in Virginia, you can take the GED test. You may also be able to take the test at 16 or 17 with special permission from the school district where you live. 

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 Virginia: 

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

Grants and scholarships in Virginia

The Virginia Commonwealth Award Program awards need-based grants to undergraduates and graduate-level students. 

Eligible undergraduate students are required to attend approved Virginia colleges and universities. Graduate participants are permitted to attend in and out-of-state institutions. The actual awards will vary by institution and are subject to available funding. 


  • U.S. citizen
  • Virginia resident 
  • Two- or four-year college or university student
  • Half-time student (minimum)
  • Working toward a degree or technical certificate
  • Display financial need paying for college

How to get help:

This program does not have a separate application; students must complete the FAFSA or VASA. Call 804-225-2600 for additional help. 

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. 

More education help: 

Employment help for single moms in Virginia

Workforce programs in Virginia provide training and assist with employment:

Virginia Reemployment Assistance (Insurance) Program

This program provides unemployment compensation to eligible Virginia workers who are out of work through no fault of their own.


  • Virginia resident 
  • Unemployed
  • Previously employed for the past 12 months
  • Earned a certain amount of wages
  • Actively looking for another job

How to get help: 

Virginia ServiceSource Employment Supports for Parents

The Employment Supports for Parents program helps unemployed parents transition back into a career, change careers, and increase earnings. Parents get personalized support to explore career options and learn skills to make them excellent job candidates and employees.


  • Must financially support at least one minor
  • Looking for employment
  • Meet income guidelines
  • Live in one of the following areas:
    • Fairfax County
    • Falls Church
    • Fairfax
    • Prince William County
    • Stafford County
    • Fredericksburg

How to get help:

American Job Centers

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

How to get help: 

More employment help: 

Charity organizations in Virginia

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

Women Giving Back

Women Giving Back is a nonprofit in Sterling, Va. that provides a free clothing boutique for women and children, diapers, school supplies, holiday gifts, and other essentials. The organization serves low-income women-led families and women who have survived traumatic experiences such as domestic violence.


  • You must be referred to use these free programs and services by a Women Giving Back referral partner
  • If you need diapers, you can use the online application to request them as long as you are able to pick up the diapers and meet one of the following conditions:
    • Your child is under 3
    • You have a baby due next month
    • You can show proof of need and have experienced a financial hardship

How to get help:

Giving Words

Giving Words is a nonprofit in Louisa, Va. that helps single mothers who cannot afford car repairs and connects them to resources to assist them in overcoming financial hardships, especially in emergency situations. Giving Words partners with local churches, car repair shops, consignment shops and other community organizations.


  • Single mothers in Virginia are encouraged to contact the organization for help

How to get help:

The Salvation Army of Virginia

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. 

How to get help: 

Visit the Salvation Army website to find your local chapter. 

Catholic Charities of Virginia

Catholic Charities assists with:

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


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

How to get help: 

United Way of Virginia

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

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

The United Way that serves Richmond and Peteresburg sponsors the WomanRise scholarship grant program for moms who are students and earn less than $60,000.

How to get help: 


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

Not your state? Select yours here:


I have a friend who is a divorced, single mother of 2 young children.
She got what seemed like a dream deal on purchase of a small house for her family with plans of starting a daycare business. Now she’s come to realize that the house has mold and bedbugs. The 2 children are with their father for the summer but returning shortly. The mother does not make enough at her job to pay for bed bug exterminator or for mold remediation. With her mortgage payments she cannot afford to move.

Any ideas, advice for her?

Thank you so much for your consideration and time.

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