Single Mothers Housing Grants - Are They Available?

By Tony Cane

Being a single mother is a tough job by any standard; it's made it that much worse when financial resources are limited. Single moms often find themselves struggling to pay the bills, get an education, and care for the children all at the same time. Fortunately, for single parent households that are struggling financially there is some help available. Specifically in the area of housing, which tends to be one of our greatest expenses, there are private and government grants available.

Before you begin your search for single mothers housing grants, you need to be aware that most grants and other assistance made available to single moms is not advertised as such. Generally grants are offered to low income families rather than singled out for mothers, fathers, or any other demographic group looking at buying a house. In order to access financial assistance that might be helpful to you, you'll be applying as a low-income family rather than as a single mother.

It's also important to understand that the federal government does not provide direct grants for any personal expenses. That means you won't find federal grants to pay for a house down payment, earn your college degree, or start a business. Any federal money used for personal purposes will go through states or other organizations like HUD based on specific programs they have set up. Despite what you may have heard on late night television, you cannot simply go to a government website, fill out an application, and get lots of "free money." That said, below are several places you can check for the availability of housing grants for single mothers.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development

HUD is the federal agency responsible for assuring affordable housing in the United States. They have a variety of programs at their disposal with which they can fulfill their mission. As an example, for single moms interested in buying a home there may be HUD grants to help with down payment and closing costs, or programs to help secure low-cost FHA loans. The best place to find out information on these types of programs is through a local bank or mortgage lender.

For single moms who would prefer to rent, HUD provides rent subsidies through its Housing Choice Voucher program. Under this program, low income individuals or families can choose where they would like to live from a group of qualified communities participating in the program. The program pays the subsidy directly to the landlord and the tenant makes up the difference in the monthly rent. These programs are administered by local agencies who receive the HUD money as block grants.

USDA - Rural Development / Housing & Community Facilities Programs

The USDA provides programs similar to HUD's that are aimed at rural communities instead of cities and towns. These programs involve low-interest loans, downpayment and closing cost assistance, rehabilitation loans, and rent subsidies. Qualifications for the USDA housing assistance programs are different than those of the HUD programs, but only because the target demographic is different. Regardless, single mothers in a low income bracket shouldn't have any trouble qualifying for USDA programs in their area.

Catholic Charities USA

Catholic Charities is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of low income individuals around the country. The organization specializes in assisting single mothers and other "at-risk" individuals in finding affordable housing, accessing healthcare, and locating and accessing other critical services. Not all of the charity's services are provided in all areas, and some are limited by financial resources, but the local office near you should have plenty of information about what's available in your area.

Society of Saint Vincent de Paul

The Society is another private, nonprofit organization that provides material and tangible assistance to those in need. What makes this program different is the fact that everything is handled in a one-on-one situation. In other words, each need is assessed individually and clients work with staff in any number of individualized ways to make sure needs are met. Assistance is sometimes given in cash, while at other times is provided through a bartering type system. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul may or may not be active in your area, so it is best check their website for details.

Be Careful of Scams

As you begin your search for single mothers housing grants be sure to use caution every step of the way. For every legitimate grant opportunity available there are half a dozen scams or more. Under no circumstances should you ever pay money to an individual or business that promise to provide you with grants or free money. These businesses and individuals are running a scam and preying on people who are in need.

You can also forget about the books, audio cassettes, and training videos in which hucksters promise access to thousands of grant opportunities for very little money. The truth is, grants are hard to come by and they require diligent effort on your part.

If you're willing to put forth the effort to research and apply, it is possible as a single mother to find housing assistance. You can get started today by simply being online and reading through different opportunities available to you. You might also want to contact local advocacy groups, churches, and social services departments.