How Can Single Moms Get Help With The Rent?

By

manny

in

Published on July 18, 2020

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Mom and daughter put things out of the boxes after moving to a new house. The joy of buying new homes

If you are a single mom who is struggling to pay your rent, you may be eligible to receive rental assistance or grants from government and non-government agencies. These organizations that offer help with rent for single moms and other low-income individuals have housing assistance programs that aim to prevent families from being homeless.

These housing assistance programs can help you by providing you with funds to help pay your rent, provide emergency or transitional housing if you are evicted, or you can also apply for subsidized housing programs where the monthly rent is typically lower.

With most of these programs, you must be able to show that your income is not adequate to support your family and pay your rent in full.  Depending on the available programs in your area, the eligibility requirements are also different. In some programs, you can apply or inquire directly with your local state office, while other programs need you to be referred by their partner agencies by non-profit organizations.

Below are some agencies and organizations that offer housing assistance.

1. Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, formerly known as Section 8, is the major program of the U.S. federal government that provides assistance to very low income families, the disabled and the elderly. By providing assistance on behalf of the family, the program’s aim is to allow these sectors the ability to afford safe, sanitary, and decent housing in the private market.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides the funds to public housing agencies or PHAs. These PHAs are then responsible for administering the housing choice vouchers locally by directly paying the housing subsidy to the landlord on behalf of the beneficiary. 

If there is a difference between the amount subsidized by the program and the actual rent charged by the landlord, the beneficiary has to pay this difference. Typically, a beneficiary usually pays only 40% of the rent and the rest is covered by the program.

Pros and Cons of HCV

Main advantage of this program is that the beneficiaries are not limited to housing in subsidized housing projects. Instead, they are allowed to find their own housing whether it is a townhouse, apartment, or a single family home as long as the chosen housing meets the program requirements such as minimum health and safety standards. 

It is also possible for a family to apply for this program with their current residence. This means that you can apply for HCV for the house you are currently living in as long as it meets the program requirements. This can save you moving costs and you don’t need to uproot your family to another area.

However, there is also a downside to that because since the beneficiaries are responsible in finding the housing unit, they have to make sure that the house or apartment owner will agree to rent the unit under this program. Another concern is that there is always a waiting list so it is not that easy to get immediate help.

How to Apply for a Housing Choice Voucher?

How to Apply for a Housing Choice Voucher?

  • Your family’s income must be below 50% of the median income in the metropolitan area or county where you want to live.
  • The PHAs are required by law to grant 75% of its voucher to families that do not exceed 30% of the median income so if you are a single mom with only one income in your household, you have a higher chance to get approved if you fall under this category.
  • You will need to provide information about your income, family size, and family composition to the PHA, which will then verify your information to determine if you are eligible and how much will be the amount of the assistance.
  • If you are approved, you will be provided with the housing voucher or placed on a waiting list.

2. Family Unification Program

The Family Unification Program falls under the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The aim of this program is to assist families who are separated or may face separation due to lack of adequate housing.

If you are a recipient of this program, you can use the HCV to find or pay for housing in the private rental market. There is no maximum time limit when it comes to availing the voucher under a Family Unification Program.

How to Apply for an HCV Under the Family Unification Programs?

How to Apply for an HCV Under the Family Unification Programs?

To apply for this program, you have to be referred by a Public Child Welfare Agency to the public housing agency (PHA). Once you are referred by the PCWA, the PHA will determine whether you meet the program requirements. If you are approved, you will be placed on a waiting list until the agency is able to provide assistance.

3. Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program

The ESG Program was created to provide state and local government agencies as well as non-profit organizations the capability to fund housing options for low-income families.

The Emergency Solutions Grants Program or ESG was formerly known as the Emergency Shelter Program. When the program was renamed, the new focus of the program is now to provide assistance to people for them to regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis or being homeless. 

ESG grants can be used in street outreach, emergency shelter, homelessness prevention, and rapid rehousing. Rental assistance falls under the homelessness prevention category where the goal is to prevent a family or individual from moving to a place that is not meant for human habitation.

How to Apply for Rental Assistance in the ESG Program?

How to Apply for Rental Assistance in the ESG Program?

If you are a recipient of the program, you may receive rental assistance for a maximum of 24 months. There are also short-term and medium-term rental assistance that can be for 3 months but not exceeding 24 months.

Since ESG funds are provided to grantees, you will have to check if there is a grantee in your area. You can go to this website to find a grantee in your state. 

4. State-Sponsored Housing Programs

The ESG Program was created to provide state and local government agencies as well as non-profit organizations the capability to fund housing options for low-income families.

The Emergency Solutions Grants Program or ESG was formerly known as the Emergency Shelter Program. When the program was renamed, the new focus of the program is now to provide assistance to people for them to regain stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis or being homeless. 

ESG grants can be used in street outreach, emergency shelter, homelessness prevention, and rapid rehousing. Rental assistance falls under the homelessness prevention category where the goal is to prevent a family or individual from moving to a place that is not meant for human habitation.

5. Housing and Community Facilities Programs (HCFP)

The Housing and Community Facilities Programs or HCFP is an agency that falls under the USDA or United States Department of Agriculture. This is a housing assistance program dedicated to people living in rural areas.

If you live in a rural area and you are having a hard time making the rent, you might want to consider checking whether there is a multi-family housing complex funded by the HCFP. As a tenant of this complex, you can be eligible for rental assistance. Aside from rental assistance, this program can also help individuals with home rehabilitation and home ownership.

To find out more about this program, you have to check the local office in your state.

6. Public Housing Program

If you are always needing emergency rent assistance for single mothers, one option to lessen your stress is to consider applying for a unit in a Public Housing Program by the HUD. This program was created to provide decent and safe housing for low-income families, disabled, and the elderly.

Public housing, however, is not free. You would have to pay rent but of course, the rent is much lower compared to housing rented out by private owners. The rent is typically 30% of your household income after the allowed deductions but this could be lower if you have several dependents. You can stay in a public housing rental as long as you comply with the lease regulations.

While the rent is cheap, there are also some disadvantages associated with living in a public housing unit. Public housing buildings, in general, have built the reputation of being unsafe and they are in areas that have a high crime rate. Because of this, single moms may find it tough to live in such areas. Before considering public housing, you may want to ask around if the area is relatively safe.

7. Salvation Army

This can be another option to get help with rent for single moms. The Salvation Army provides housing assistance to more than 28,000 people every night. If you are a single mother, you can check whether rent assistance funding is available with the local Worship and Service center in your area.

Pros and Cons of Salvation Army Housing Assistance

One downside is that rent assistance may not always be available from the Salvation Army. However, there are other types of assistance single moms can get help with. If rent assistance is not available, you may still check whether you can get other types of assistance that will surely help tide you over. Other types of housing assistance offered by the Salvation Army include emergency shelter, transitional housing,  utility assistance, cooling and warming shelters.

Emergency Shelters

If you have been evicted because you were unable to pay rent or if you don’t have anywhere to go because of a domestic breakup, you can check with the Salvation Army about emergency shelters that are available in your area.

Transitional Housing

In some areas, transitional housing options are able to accommodate young families. You can typically stay in a transitional housing for up to six months or until you find a permanent home.

8. Housing Industry Foundation

The mission of the Housing Industry Foundation or HIF is to help families and individuals remain in or return to stable housing. Under the HIF’s Homeless Prevention Programs, recipients can avail of emergency housing grants, affordable housing initiatives, and shelter renovation funds.

The Emergency Housing grant is a one-time assistance of up to $2,500. This can be used for rent, utilities, or paying for security deposit. As this is an emergency rent assistance, grants can be funded within 24 hours of the request. This program, however, is only available in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties in California.

How to Apply in the HIF’s Homeless Prevention Program?

How to Apply in the HIF’s Homeless Prevention Program?

HIF partners with non-profit organizations, service agencies and other community organizations to review and qualify eligible recipients. Some of the common requirements include: 

  • Recipients must either be currently homeless or must be at risk of being homeless to qualify. 
  • They must be able to show that it is a “no fault” housing crisis meaning that the inability to pay resulted from injury, illness, temporary loss of income, being a victim of a crime or other unanticipated expenses.
  •  Recipients must demonstrate their ability to meet their expenses in the future.

Getting Help With Rent For Single Moms

As a single parent, providing for your family’s basic needs which include shelter can be very challenging. You don’t have to do it alone. You can reach out to the various government and non-government organizations to see whether you can be eligible for rent assistance grants.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *