I’m not sugar-coating this for you: Shit is real and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Chances are you are either losing your mind trying to figure out how to work from home with kids around, or out of a job altogether and terrified about the future.
You are not alone. I am in it with you, as are tens of millions of other single moms around the globe. The thing about single moms is that 100% of us have been through some serious real-life in the past. You got through that mess, and you will get through this one, too. The upside is that everyone else is in a similar situation, so the social-pariah factor that single moms often deal with is less this time around. That is a powerfully good thing.
Here is a list of grants for single mothers that could help get you through this crisis:
- $500 Monthly Kickass Single Mom Stimulus Grant
- More pandemic grants for single mothers
- Single mom grants to pay bills and and rent
- Grants for single moms to buy a house
- College grants for single moms
$500 Monthly Kickass Single Mom Stimulus Grant
Every month, I give out $500 cash to one single mom, no strings attached.
The 2021 Kickass Single Mom Stimulus Grant has one goal: Give a hand to single moms struggling with money, health, stress, child care, illness and loneliness.
Qualifications are simple:
1. You're a single mom.
2. You need the money right now.
Beautiful update: I have received a total of $7,000 in anonymous donations from *four* sources.
Email from a mom who asked to remain anonymous, and two bonus grants were distributed:
My husband and I are expecting a small stimulus check. We didn't expect one based on our income, and given that we are both lucky enough to keep our jobs and be able to do them from home, we've decided we'd like to donate it and sponsor two single moms for $500 each. If this were a few years ago I'd be in a very different position, and my husband remembered my struggle when we were dating plus what it would have been like for his single mom when he was a kid.
The grant was originally weekly. All told, since March 26, we have given out $24,000 (updated Feb. 8, 2021).
Single Mom Stimulus Grant Winners:
Maria Caudillo Delgado, in Austin, Texas, came to the U.S. from Mexico fleeing gang violence when she was 17, now she has three kids ages 8, 4, and 8 months old. She's currently a Legal Permanent Resident here but wants to take citizenship classes and learn English to be able to help her kids in their own education. She just began renting her own apartment in January, was sustainably working in housekeeping but due to COVID-19 they furloughed most hotel workers. The money would help her pay her rent during this crisis and help her focus more on the future rather than worry about the present. Maria is a client of the family shelter Posada Esperanza.
Marquita Thomas, Wilmington, Del. mom of two, who lost her social services admin job to cancer, then a school bus admin job to coronavirus.
Ida Ndoye, a Bronx, New York mom of two: “I need the $500 now to buy diapers and food for my children for the next weeks, until I can get a response for food stamps.
“I used to work as a nanny in Greenpoint (Brooklyn). Due to the pandemic, my employers are now working from home. Being a full-time nanny, they offered me two weeks pay to help until things resume to normal. That was back on March 12th. Not being a citizen, I won’t receive any part of the stimulus check. I am thankful for the food pantry in my neighborhood which helps me with food and few diapers here and there for my infant.”
Bailey MacIntosh, mom of one, in Dayton, Ohio: “My father, who was a main source of help, committed suicide a few years ago. My stepfather is fighting a rare salivary gland cancer, and I am trying to take the strain off my mother. I am a certified chef, and I do independent contract work at a catering company that is now closed due to Covid-19. I tried to get unemployment but because I am an independent 1099 employee I am ineligible, leaving me with 0 income. Anything will help right now.”
Jasmine Isby, mom of one, Tupelo, Miss.: “Currently, no daycares or schools are open due to Covid-19 and my son isn’t able to watch himself, he’s only four years of age. My job [manufacturing] is forcing parents in this predicament to take a leave of absence with no pay and no eligibility to obtain unemployment and rent is almost due along with a light bill.”
Alisha Wilson, mom of one, Westminster, Calif.: “My work hours as a home health aid have been severely reduced to just 12 hours/week. I spent all of my stimulus check playing catch up on bills and buying food, diapers, and wipes. My bank balance is currently negative and I am unable to receive assistance from anyone I know as they are in similar situations due to the virus.”
Adonai Foster, mom of four in Beloit, Wisc.: “I'm behind on rent and bills and it's only me and my kids — and which one graduates in June of 2020. I'm a crew member at KFC, and due to Covid my hours were cut, so it's hard to stay a float working only 20 hours a week for $9.50 per hour.”
Tanika Hunter, mom of one in Baltimore, Md.: “I have been out of work since mid-March; I have been denied for food stamps and I live in a school district that does not have enough laptops to provide the students. My honor roll student has to rely on doing homework from my cell phone. She has vision problems and it is extremely hard for her to see the work. I do not want her grades to slide due to lack of resources.”
Tanya Domingos, mom of two, formerly a waitress, in Fall River, Mass.: “I get unemployment but that barley gets me through. I got kicked off SNAP because of my unemployment benefits so money is getting tighter. I don't drive so I have to pay for taxis, and my son is autistic so he has special appointments he has to go to.”
Vinneshia Covington, mom of two, Burlington, S.C.: “We recently moved cities, so for the first time in 6 years my children and I can have a home again. I got a job at Hardee's part-time. I walk 2 hours every day to and from work but it's worth it to finally be a little out the water, but I need help with bills.”
Christina Mills, mom of 1, Knoxville, Tenn.: “I am a foster mom of a precious 6-year-old son. I am now in the process of adopting him and we are both very excited! Finances have been tight as I rely on Social Security benefits. I do work as a petsitter, that came to a screeching halt with the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Jessica Morgan, mom of 3, Pennsgrove, N.J.: “My children are 5, 2 and 4 months and I am struggling to afford all their necessities. Due to Covid-19, I can not work because it is not safe for me or my children for me to work as a self-employed housecleaner.”
Andrea Weed, mom of 1 in Puyallup, Wa., lost her new business as a home daycare provider when the virus hit: “With the $500, I can pay for groceries and clothes for my 5-year-old.”
Brandi Snyder, mom of 4 in Council Grove, Kan., a store room attendant who lost her job: “I can't seem to get ahead because I never seem to make enough money, and I've been struggling so long that it feels like I can't breathe! If I could just get even a little bit of help I know we'll be OK, and maybe I can even be someone that my children will be proud of someday!”
Jasmine Sanders, mom of 1 in Las Vegas, is out of work as a Uber and Lyft driver: “I need to pay rent, keep our lights on, and have my car I order to get around. I have no income coming in at all and it’s so stressful.”
Tiara Jenkins, mom of 1 in Iowa City, Iowa: A para-educator who was laid off in March, she wrote: “Starting a summer job as a traveling CNA, but my car's transmission needs replacing to get back and forth or I won’t be able to keep this job.” Her Facebook profile name is “Tiara HighlyMotivated Jenkins.”
Da'Janee Chaney, Bronx mom of a newborn wrote: “I need $500 to help pay for my backed-up utility bills, get summer clothing for myself and my baby, and to get at least a big pack of diapers and some baby wipes. I'm currently in a job-placement program, I'm looking to get my GED and then go to college.”
Erikka Johnson, expecting mom with two daughters in Grand Rapids, Mich., whose hours as a direct-care worker were reduced: “I'm facing eviction due to working very low hours. With everything going on my girls and I can't afford to be homeless.”
Amanda Scott, mom of three in Oxford, Miss., lost her work as an office manager and waitress to Covid-19: “I'm raising two teenage boys and a 7-year-old daughter alone, but I'm giving it my best. All three need new clothes just in case school starts back. I'm trying the hardest I have ever to keep a roof over our heads and keep moving forward.”
Kay Zuanshi, 19, Starbucks barista in Greenville, S.C. “I'm raising a 7 month old independently. COVID has made it impossible to pay bills alone, as my hours have been cut drastically.”
Olivia Jeffers, mom of 5, and a chef in Hephzibah, Ga. “I have been unable to provide the basic necessities to maintain my home, or support my children being that I am unable to work and my vehicle is holding me back due to lack of maintenance and funds.”
Ashley Pratt, mom of 2, Pittsburg. “I am a single mom of two struggling to get unemployment after my job as an insurance appointment setter was eliminated. I don't have a drop of gas in my car or a dollar to my name. I'm literally going to McDonald's to steal napkins for toilet paper.”
Sharae Dillingham, mom of 4 in Indianapolis. “My car broke down and i just moved to this city. I lost my job.”
Britney Robertson, Houston nurse and mom of 1: “Although it is great that places are closing or making adjustments to help curve the spread of Covid, closing is not an option for hospitals. This money would help with childcare which has proven to be difficult due to childcare facilities closing and the fear of contracting Covid from others.”
Evangellene Torres, Jacksonville, Fla., mom of 2 who cares for her mom, who has Lupus: “I had to take a leave of absence when someone tested positive for Covid-19. Taking care of a 1-year-old and a 6-year-old, and my mom with health issues is a lot. I currently work at Home Depot and they cut my hours to 16 hours per week. I’m running out of options.”
Tiffany Hunter, Cocoa, Fla, nurse and mom of 3: “I have been furloughed due to the rise of Covid cases at my facility. On top of that I have to quarantine due to the fact I am Covid-positive. I have applied for unemployment and I have my daughter, my mother and also my nephew that moved with us 3 months ago due to his mother losing their place. The DCF worker has not been responding since they placed him with us, therefore we get no assistance as of now. I need help, the bills are still rolling in, and I have no income to pay them. I feel like I am losing control.”
Nicole White, mom of 3 in Akron, Ohio: “Had to stop work as a cleaner when our country hit a Level 4. I have 3 kids, and 2 have disabilities. I've been fighting for social security for two years now. My parents passed when I was young so I have no one to turn to.”
Francine Simplice, Jacksonville, Fla. “My son has 8 allergies at age 2 and I need help with money to buy food. I don't qualify for assistance. I'm also pregnant and the father left me. I worked in customer service, but I'm on disability because if postpartum depression.”
Ashanti Durham, mom of 1 in Los Angeles, who lost work as a special ed paraprofessional substitute: “I am currently homeless in need of basic necessities for my 2-year-old. Also need money for apartment application and or security deposit for apartments.”
Juanita Madden, pregnant mom of 2 in Nashville whose hours as a dog groomer were slashed: “I've had loss of income due to Covid, found out I was pregnant then recently my fiance passed away and I'm trying to do everything myself. This would help me keep my hope that things will get better.”
Patrice Marlow, North Charleston, S.C., mom of 3 lost work when Covid closed the restaurant where she was a server, and her income was limited by lack of child care.
Connie Papayani, mom of 5 and medical biller in Islip Terrace, N.Y. “My landlord needs his house back by October and I had less than $200 in income in June and July. No money in savings. Feeding kids on food stamps.”
Chianae Tihoe of Oakland Park, Fla., single mom of one who last her job as a Victoria's Secret manager due to store closure. “I'm behind in rent and being harassed with eviction,” she said. “Unemployment benefits in Florida are $119 per week that you may or may not get.”
Shakayla Johns, mom of two in New Orleans, who is unable to work as a hair stylist during lockdown. “I’m struggling every single day. My fridge is empty, I don’t get any type of assistance from the government, my electricity bill is past-due $1,000, and I’m afraid when Covid is over I’m going to loose everything.”
Renita Stokes, Grand Prarie, Texas mom of three. “I just moved my kids from Memphis to Texas in June, and then I got laid off due to Covid. I've been trying to figure out what to do. I've been denied for SNAP and trying to figure out what to do. Everything has been extremely overwhelming.”
Kaytee Currie, of Baytown, Texas, is a mom of two and caretaker of the elderly. “Any money I can get goes towards an apartment or rental home so my kids and I don't have to crash at family members' houses.”
Kenyetta Jones, mom of 2 in Savannah, Ga., who lost hours at a supermarket when the pandemic hit. “I need a place for my kids and me. I’m only 22 taking care of twins and sick parents with a minimum wage job.”
Ashley Watkins, mom of 3 in Declo, Id. “I was a babysitter, gig worker, freelancer. Now I am unemployed and trying to compete for work with millions of others and losing. I'm behind on every single bill I have. I don't even have enough money to winterize our home.”
Jessica Fail, mom of 6 in Molino, Fla. “I had a bad car accident and was out for a while, during which the company moved overseas. At the same time my marriage was ending so myself and my children moved in with my granny so we could rebuild our lives and I could keep an eye on her. I am trying to find a job but my car needs a new tire. I also have no way to get the kids winter clothes.”
Shavon Anthony, mom of two in Fayetteville, N.C. “I work full-time as a CNA. I do home health. I work by the hour. I have only one client. If he gets sick and ends up in the hospital, I don't get paid. My client is sick and back in the hospital again, so I'm not getting paid. I have no savings.”
Nika Porter, mom of 6 in Madison, Wisc. “I was an assistant manager for McDonald's for 9 years, but I lost my job due to the pandemic because I had no one to watch my children because school shut down. If it weren't for those new eviction laws we would be homeless right now.”
Charlee Stones, mom of 2 boys, ages 2 and 2 months, in Ely, Nevada. “I just paid rent for December it was the last of my savings. I'm not sure what I'm going to do for January or other bills. I am a custodian at a hotel and casino, and lost my job when Covid hit, and am now struggling to find child care. I am lucky they are holding my job for me, but as of now I have no income and bills are piling up.
Elizabeth Cargle, mom of 4 boys in Hogansville, Ga. “I recently become homeless and I am trying to keep my little family together. I was working in retail at a Family Dollar but they closed the store due to Covid.”
Tiffany Miller, mom of 1 in Fort Lee, N.J. who also cares for her mother. “I was a bartender and I lost my job because of Covid. I learned to sew and for awhile I was selling masks and now I make kids tshirts for birthdays but I'm still looking for a real job. I pretty much gave up on paying for unimportant bills but I need to pay my rent and I need to make sure I have internet and electric so my daughter can attend virtual school.”
Bailey Peterson, mom of a baby, in Wilmont, Wisc., whose hours as a server have been cut due to COVID: “I’m a new mom doing the best I can for my baby by myself and I’m not able to afford child care for all the days I work, let alone anything else the baby needs. I could really use the extra help, as my child’s father is incarcerated and unable to contribute anything.”
Kya Johnson, Indianapolis mom of 1 says: “My child and I are currently being evicted and have nowhere to go, no cosign, no anything to get us in a new place. My job is working from home for myself and making crochet garments to sell.” See her creations here.
Elizabeth Barden, a Philadelphia mom of 3 wrote: “I need to be able to continue to provide for my family. We had an electrical house fire on January 30th, 2021 and lost everything. I work as a bus attendant. My job was important when school was open but since the pandemic, everything has been rough.”
Angel Heston, mom of one in Shelby, N.C., is an Amazon Fulfillment Center picker, an essential employee. “My son and I are living in an Extended Stay Hotel that I pay $358/week for, until I get my tax refund. We are literally a few dollars from homelessness every week, and a lot of time go without things we need, just to have a roof over our heads.”
Lorena Moreno, mom of three in Houston. “My rent is due today, though the office gives me till the 3rd to pay it without late fees. “Last year I lost my insurance job due to having COVID while I was 4 months pregnant with my little one. When I was finally negative they did not want to hire me back because I was already 5-6 months pregnant. I tried applying everywhere but due to my pregnancy nobody would call me back. I also did side gigs as a vocalist, but due to the protocols from COVID I hardly had any gigs.”
Chiquita Jackson, mom of two in Palm Beach, Fla. where she is a bus operator. “I have to move out of my apartment because it was ordered not safe for me and my kids by my local city my landlord was served with violations.”
Chayca Sanchez, mom of two in Tuscon, Ariz., who also cares for her brother and her mom who is struggling with cancer and stopped working as a Door Dash driver and house cleaner to care for her kids and mom during the pandemic. “I really need the money because I'm stressed thinking how can I get money for rent, child care and household expenses. With my mom sick and brother not having work it's hard.”[Previously, this was a monthly $1,000 Kickass Single Mom Grant, which celebrated single moms doing incredible things in the world. You're still doing incredible things in the world, but the world is very different today, so the program changed.]
More pandemic grants for single mothers
Single mom grants to pay bills and rent assistance
Catholic Charity has more than 3,000 offices across the United States that help families with free money for paying utility and energy bills regardless of their religion.
Community Action Organizations take on the responsibility of helping families in need with everything from utility bills to job training, food assistance, housing and more.
Grants for single moms to buy a house
Operation HOPE Home Buyers Program helps low-income home buyers through FDIC-approved loans, down payment assistance and first-time buying assistance.
The Chenoa Fund is a government-chartered organization that provides up to 3.5% downpayment assistance for those with a FICO Score of 620 or higher. If your income is less than 115% of your area’s median income, and you make your mortgage payment on time for 36 months, the mortgage is forgiven. If you make more than 115% of your area’s median income, the downpayment assistance must be repaid.
Community Seconds is a Fannie Mae-approved second mortgage that allows you to use the funds available from state and local governments as well as housing nonprofits to put together a down payment, get help with closing costs and even complete minor renovations.
HomePath properties are Fannie Mae-owned homes offered to the public at a discount after the previous owner defaulted on a Fannie Mae-owned mortgage. These mortgages come with low down payments, renovation loan eligibility and closing cost assistance of up to 3% of the home’s purchase price.
College grants for single moms
First, check Sallie Mae's database of grants and scholarships for single moms and women. The site has 6 million programs with rewards totaling $30 billion.
Ford Opportunity Program helps single moms who live in Oregon or Siskiyou County in California pay for up to 90% or $40,000 per year.
Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting offers scholarships of up to $16,000 aimed at women who are primary sources of support for their families. Single moms definitely meet that criteria.
Bernice Murray Scholarship for single parents who are residents of Vermont, demonstrate financial need, and will use the funds for child care expenses. Up to $4,000
Bethel Foundation Grace Scholarship Fund for single mothers are part- or full-time students, for up to $1,500 per semester.
Beatrice F. Kroesche Memorial Scholarship at the University of Utah for students enrolled in the university’s College of Education or Department of English. $1,000 to $2,000.
More grants and cash assistance for single mothers
This is a deep resource of grants, financial aid, financial assistance and other help for single mothers and their children.
Named in memory of their daughter, The Colette Louise Tisdahl Foundation provides financial assistance to families in crisis due to high-risk and complicated pregnancies, NICU stays, and loss.
This site has a comprehensive list of grants for individuals, artists, small businesses and non-profits.
Guaranteed income (or universal basic income)
Universal Basic Income, or UBI, is increasingly gaining popularity as an efficient, effective way to alleviate poverty and improve society overall. The essence of these programs it that by giving people a guaranteed sum of cash each month — opposed to expensive, cumbersome and inefficient programs — recipients are more likely to get the services or resources they need, money flows more freely in local economies, and society overall benefits from a sense that we take care of one another, studies are finding.
“I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.” — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Single moms stand to benefit the most from this kind of aide. From feminist news site The 19th:
About 56 percent of the people who live in poverty in the United States are women, and most of those are women of color. Of that group, unmarried women with children, like Nichols, are the most likely to be below the federal poverty line. For her family of five, that’s $30,680.
Here is a list of pilot UBI programs:
This is a coalition of 36 mayors from places like Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Compton and Stockton, California, Gainesville, Fla., Wausau, Wisc., and Jackson, Mississippi came together to test UBI programs in their cities. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey committed $15 million to the organization.
Since 2016, Jain Family Institute has built a global network of fellows, advisors, and partners that provides a unique view into the variety of ways cash transfer programs can be structured and implemented. Their white papers cover disbursement infrastructure, interactions with existing benefits, and optimal guaranteed income design.
The Oakland, Calf., city program, which has raised $6.75 million from private donors, will give low-income families of color $500 per month.
More help for single moms
For more info on running your household efficiently, creating budgets, meal plans, chores and more, check out our resources guide for single moms.
The following are government and community resources to help families in need — including single-parent-led households.
Find a food pantry near you using Food Finder, which will connect you with free food given away through local churches, community programs, charities in all 50 states.
Find your local food bank through the Feeding America website.
USDA National Hunger Hotline: 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273). Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM Eastern.
Government food assistance programs including SNAP / food stamps / WIC are enhanced during the pandemic.
Do you qualify for food stamps? Each state has its own income limits. Check with your local agency to see if you qualify. As one example, here is the current income limit chart for Pennsylvania:
See if your local schools offer free meals for families with children, and food programs for senior citizens.
HUD housing for low-income single moms
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) works with landlords to offer affordable rent to low-income families, including single moms, the disabled and senior citizens.
Learn how to qualify for HUD housing, and search for a HUD apartment on the program’s website.
HUD also has various state-sponsored housing programs throughout the country. Learn about these state housing programs for low-income moms.
HUD public housing for low-income families is another option. Contact your state’s Public Housing Agency directly to learn more.
Section 8 vouchers for single mothers
HUD Section 8 vouchers are coupons given directly to low-income renters who use them to pay part of their rent to participating landlords. Apply for Section 8, and find participating property owners.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income families and individuals with energy costs, energy crisis hellp, weatherization and energy-related home repairs. Find info for your state here.
Buy a home as a single mom
Even if your income is low, you may qualify for special home buying programs for single moms, and those with limited income. The blog Single Moms Income has a great resource page about home-buying programs for single moms.
Use New York Times’s excellent tool to see if you should rent or buy a home: Rent or Buy Calculator
Get a free car, or help buying a car as a single mom
Free Charity Cars gives away donated cars throughout the United States to those in need, including:
- Domestic violence victims
- The medically needy
- Victims of natural disasters
- Families transitioning from public assistance to work
- Families living in transitional living shelters
- The working poor
- Non-profit organizations
- Military families
Working Cars for Working Families helps those in need find a donated car.
The Women Infants and Children program for families with children aged 5 and younger offers food coupons you can use at grocery stores, markets and bodegas, for qualifying food. Learn whether you are eligible for WIC, and how to apply.
TANF, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, is the new name for cash assistance once called ‘welfare.' Today the program requires participants to work part-time or prove that you're looking for work. Learn more about TANF.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program loads financial credit to low-income people on a debit card, that you use at your local grocery store and market. Learn how to qualify, and apply online for SNAP.
School Breakfast and Lunch Programs
This national program helps families with food through their local schools and daycare centers by providing free breakfasts and lunches to students. Learn more.
As of April, 2021, SNAP emergency funding was expanded by an additional $1 billion per month to 25 million people as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act, which includes:
- Extending a 15 percent increase in SNAP benefits— providing over $1.1 billion per month in additional benefits through September 2021;
- Funding meals for young adults experiencing homelessness through Child and Adult Care Food Program emergency shelters;
- Providing nearly $900 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, including a temporary increase in fruit and vegetable vouchers to $35 per month
Special Milk Program
If your school does not have a free breakfast or lunch program, they may qualify for the special milk program. Learn more.
Summer Food Service Program
The federal Summer Food Service programs helps families who depend on school lunches and breakfasts to access nutritious foods during summer breaks. Learn more.
Free cell phone
Lifeline Assistance is a government program partners with major wireless companies to provide qualifying families with free phones and cell service.
Safelink Wireless is a free government cell phone carrier serving 4 million customers in 31 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Safelink provides a free mobile phone and up to 350 free local and domestic long-distance minutes monthly, and unlimited text messages every month if you qualify.
Assurance Wireless provides a free phone and up to 500 monthly minutes and unlimited texting in the United States to qualifying members.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state medical insurance program for low-income families. Find out if you qualify for Medicaid, and learn about your state's benefits.
Public assistance day care programs
Each state's Health and Human Services can help you find grants for low-cost or free daycare, based on your need, income and program availability in your area. Learn about your options at the Office of Childcare Website.
Head Start day care
Head Start and Early Head Start is an established federal program that has proven successful in providing educational readiness for low-income children under age 5 from low-income families. The program's goals are to help all children get ready for school, as well as provide affordable child care to their parents.
State child care assistance subsidies for single moms
Each state has child care assistance programs that can help you find quality day care centers, and pay for them. Find programs in your state and town with the Office of Child Care's website.