hardship grants for single moms

Assistance and Grants for Single Moms in 2022

Table of Contents

Isn’t it nice to have a helping hand? The U.S. government offers a variety of hardship grants for single mothers that can provide priceless support as they try to juggle motherhood, school, and a career.

It may be difficult being a single mother, particularly when balancing a family’s finances. These grants, however, can provide you with some much-needed peace of mind.

Keep in mind that not all hardship awards will apply to your particular circumstance. Some grants require certain income levels, work status, and education experience in order to qualify.  However,  there are many grants available so it’s very likely that you will find something to help!

Keep reading to learn about the hardship grants available to single moms and how to apply for them. 

What Grants are Available for Single Mothers

There are subsidies available for everything from food to housing to childcare to education.

But how can you tell which ones are right for you and which ones you’ll qualify for?  To help you make an informed decision, we’ll break down each federal grant into categories and explain how to apply. 

The categories that we’ll cover below are the following:

  • Housing Grants
  • Education Grants
  • Daycare Grants
  • Food Grants
  • Cash Assistance
  • Additional Grants

How to Apply for Grants for Single Mothers

Before applying for a grant or assistance program, you’ll have to make sure you’re eligible based on income and other qualifying criteria. Once you determine that you’re eligible, you can apply (in most cases) on the official website.

It’s important that you have your documents in order when you are applying for a federal program. The exact documents that you’ll need vary from program to program, however, the following is a basic list of documents that you’ll need in many cases, so it’s helpful to have them handy.

  • A photo ID (driver’s license or passport)
  • A W-2 if you’re working
  • Tax returns
  • Lease or Mortgage information
  • Bank account details
  • Social security card
  • Child’s birth certificate
  • Child’s social security card

Now that you know what you’ll need, let’s get into the programs.

Housing Grants

Keeping up with your rent or mortgage payments could be a challenge, especially because of the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic and high inflation.   

These Housing grants can help pay for affordable housing or keep you in your home if you’re facing eviction.  The awards are administered by HUD, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8)

This is one of the Housing and Urban Development grants that receive the most attention. It’s open to anybody in need, not just single moms. 

The Housing Choice Voucher Program was previously known as Section 8.   It helps low-income families find affordable housing, by paying a portion of their rent.

Families can choose where to live (as long as the landlord accepts Housing Choice Vouchers) and must pay up to 30% of their income for rent.  The government will cover the rest of the rent payments.  

There is usually a waiting list to get approved for the Housing Choice Voucher program, so if this is a program that you need to help get your life on the right track, it’s wise to apply as soon as you can.

How to Apply

You can apply directly at your local Public Housing Authority (PHA) office. You can find the office closest to you here: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/pha/contacts

Weatherization Assistance Program

This grant does not directly help you pay the rent or bills. However, it does help you reduce your energy bills by making your home more energy efficient.

Recipients of the program will receive an energy audit in order to see how they can improve the energy efficiency in their home. They can then receive a variety of services based on the audit, including caulking, weather-stripping, insulation, patching holes, and more.

How to Apply

The Weatherization Assistance Program is funded by the federal government but administered at the state and local levels. You can find the local agency that can help you weatherize your home here: https://www.energy.gov/eere/wap/how-apply-weatherization-assistance

American Dream Downpayment Initiative for First Time Home Buyers

If you’re considering buying a house, you know how hard it can be to come up with a downpayment and closing costs. Thankfully, the American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI) program can help.

This program provides low-income families with up to several thousand dollars that can be applied to the closing costs and downpayment of their first home.

How to Apply

You need to be a first-time homebuyer and your income must be under 80% of the median income in your area. You can apply for this grant in your local HUD Office. You can find a complete list of local HUD offices here: https://www.hud.gov/local

Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) Program

The Low Income Home Energy Assistant Program, or LIHEAP, will help low-income families stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer by paying a portion of their utility bills. This can include heating, electricity, water, gas, and more. Typically, the program requires a household income of 150% of the Federal Poverty Level or below.

How to Apply

In order to apply for LIHEAP you can reach out to your current utility provider. You can also call the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) at 1-866-674-6327 or find your local office of community (OCS) service at the following link: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/map/liheap-map-state-and-territory-contact-listing

Childcare Grants

Daycare and early education centers can be extremely helpful to prepare your little ones for school. It also provides important time away from your child, so you can work or study and provide for your household. Daycare, however, is also one of the most costly expenses for many families.

Thankfully, there are several federal programs that can help cover the cost of daycare or childcare.

Child Care Development Fund

The Child Care Development Fund is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and state agencies. The program covers a portion of childcare costs. The details of the programs vary by state, some programs require parents to be working while other states also allow parents who are in school. Some states provide parents with cash assistance to pay for childcare while others pay the childcare centers directly.

How to Apply

The requirements of the program vary from state to state. In order to apply, find your state’s childcare assistance office and contact them directly. You find your state’s administrators here: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/contact-information/state-and-territory-child-care-and-development-fund-administrators

Head Start Program

The Head Start and Early Head Start programs help low-income families by providing free childcare in qualified daycare and preschool facilities. Children must be under 5 years old in order to attend a Head Start or Early Head Start center. In addition to providing an early learning experience, the head start centers also provide children with snacks, breakfast, and lunch.

How to Apply

You can find out if you’re eligible as well as find nearby headstart centers at the Office of Head Start (OHS) website: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ohs/apply-services

Financial Aid for Single Mothers

The following grants offer the most flexibility for single moms who are in a financial pinch. These cash assistance grants offer families in-need monetary payments that they can use for various needs.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides cash payments to low-income families in need. The amount varies by state. The cash payments can be used for a variety of things including food, childcare, housing, and more. There are asset and income limits that must be met in order to qualify. In addition, individuals must be working or seeking work in order to qualify.

How to Apply

The requirements vary significantly from state to state, so you’ll need to contact your state’s family assistance officer. You can find your state’s TANF office here: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ofa/map/about/help-families

St. Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul is a world-renowned faith-based charity. They aim to help families in need with free clothing, food, education, and even job opportunities.

They also offer assistance to single mothers that are going through hard times in order to help them get back on their feet. Depending on your location and your personal situation, they can offer help based on your specific needs.

How to Apply

You can contact  St. Vincent de Paul on their website here:: https://www.svdp.us/contact-us/.

Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children Program (W.I.C.)

The Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children Program helps soon-to-be moms, new mothers, and children buy milk, cheese, juice, bread, cereal, peanut butter, baby food, and more.

Mothers on the program receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card that they can use to purchase the foods and goods that are covered by the program.

The program also offers services to help new moms, such as breastfeeding support and maternal mental health help.

Low-income individuals, especially mothers who are already receiving TANF assistance, have priority for this program.

How to Apply

First, go through the prescreening tool in this link: https://wic.fns.usda.gov/wps/.

If you are approved, you can then apply for the W.I.C. program. You can do so in your local W.I.C. office or even by phone. You can find both on this link: http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/toll-free-numbers-wic-state-agencies.

College Grants

Getting your degree can help you get a leg up on life and improve your life for you and your children, but as a single mother, it can be difficult to pay for school. Thankfully, there are several grants and programs that can help with tuition and supplies. Here are some of the top choices.

Pell Grant

Pell Grant is the most popular school grant in the U.S. It helps low-income people pay for tuition, books, and other supplies, as they pursue an undergraduate degree.

Unlike a school loan, the Pell Grant does not have to be repaid. The maximum amount of the grant in 2022 is $6,495. However, the amount that you will receive is based on if you are full-time or part-time and your income.

How to Apply

You’ll have to provide proof of income and information about the degree that you’re pursuing. You can start the process of applying for the Pell Grant by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form here: https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa

The Educational Foundation for Women in Accounting

This profession-specific set of grants is ideal for professional single mothers in the accounting field. Here are some of the programs offered.

Women In Transition – If you’re about to start your accounting degree, this is your program of choice. You need to have a 3.0 GPA to apply. This program offers up to $16,000 split over a period of four years.

Women In Need – If you’re a sophomore in accounting-related degrees, this is the right grant. Same as the previous one, you will need a 3.0 GPA. This program offers up to $2,000 per year.

Institute of Management Accountants IMA® – Accounting undergraduate programs are at the center of this grant. It will cover exam registration fees for C.M.A. It also covers $2,000 expenses for the chosen individuals of this grant. The selected individuals will also receive an I.M.A. membership.

Rhonda J. B. O’Leary Memorial (Seattle Chapter AFWA) – Specific to the State of Washington, this grant covers a scholarship valued at $2,000 for accounting studies.

Michele L. McDonald Memorial – With a grant total of $1,000, this specific program aims to help women return to college after raising children. It is also specific to accounting degrees.

Moss Adams Foundation – Focuses on minority women that wish to return to school or are in their last year of studies. It provides the selected individuals with $1,000 towards accounting degrees.

How to Apply

Most programs in this grant require you to:

  • Have a G.P.A. of 3.0
  • Be the primary provider of your family.

Applications open from January until April. Postgraduate grants have an extended application period, ending in mid-May.

You can apply for grants on this website: http://www.efwa.org/scholarships_undergraduate.php

AAUW’s Career Development Grant

The AAUW’s Career Development Grant helps women who are pursuing a certificate or degree to advance their careers, change careers, or reenter the workforce. In order to qualify for the grant, you must have received your bachelor’s at least 8 years ago.

How to Apply

Grantees need to be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. You can find out more about AAUW’s grants and apply at their website here: https://www.aauw.org/resources/programs/fellowships-grants/

Bethel Foundation Grace Scholarship Fund

The core mission of the Bethel Foundation Grace Scholarship Fund is to help low-income single mothers. They help through different programs, one of them being scholarships.

The amount of the grant varies from $750 to 1500 depending on if you’re a full-time or part-time student and when you’ll be attending school.

How to Apply

There are quite a few requirements to apply:

  • You must be a U.S citizen
  • You must have a high-school certificate or be graduated G.E.D.
  • You must be a single parent
  • You must select a course that is career-oriented.
  • You should not have an undergraduate degree before applying
  • You should prove your low-income
  • You should currently be a recipient or in the process of being a recipient of a Pell Grant

You can apply for the Bethel Foundation Grace Scholarship Fund here: http://www.bethelfoundationusa.com/home.aspx

Other Hardship Grants for Single Moms

There are additional assistance and grant programs that can help single moms, that don’t fit into the aforementioned categories. Here are several programs that may be able to provide much-needed assistance.

Lifeline Program

In today’s world, it’s important to stay connected, and having a working phone is essential. However, if you are on a limited income, paying the phone bill can be a challenge. Thankfully, the Lifeline program can help.

The Lifeline Program helps low-income families by providing access to a working mobile phone with internet access.

How to Apply

In order to qualify for the program, you’ll have to prove that you have a financial need by submitting income information. You can find out more about the program and apply at the FCC’s website here: https://www.fcc.gov/general/lifeline-program-low-income-consumers

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

If your income is too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to afford private insurance, then CHIP could be the solution. CHIP provides healthcare coverage to children aged 18 and under. The program covers medical visits, vaccines, prescription, vision and dental services, and more.

Depending on your income and particular situation, this program may be entirely free. However, there is a small fee to be paid in some cases.

How to Apply

You can speak to a representative over the phone. The freephone number is 1-877-KIDSNOW (1-877-543-7669).

Alternatively, you can find additional information on this website: https://www.healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/childrens-health-insurance-program/

Title X: National Family Planning Program

Title X is a program focused on providing low-income single mothers preventative services including pap smears, breast exams, pregnancy testing, cancer screening, and more. Most of these services will be for free or at an extremely low rate. It is an essential service for those that do not have access to private insurance or Medicaid.

How to Apply

Contact one of the local offices of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. You can learn more and find your local office here: https://opa.hhs.gov/grant-programs/title-x-service-grants/about-title-x-service-grants.

The Legal Service Corporation is a nonprofit organization that was established by Congress in 1974. It provides free legal aid to low-income families who fall at or below 125% of the Federal Poverty Level. The program can help with a variety of legal matters including domestic abuse, housing and foreclosures, employment issues, and more.

How to Apply

You can find a legal aid organization near you on the Legal Services Corporation website here: https://www.lsc.gov/about-lsc/what-legal-aid/get-legal-help


If you’re a struggling single mom, life can be challenging. Just remember, there is help out there. The programs listed in this article are great resources to help single mothers in need of assistance find their footing and get their life back on track.

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