Finding yourself on your own as a single mom is not an easy transition; it does not matter the circumstances behind the situation or what hardship led you to your position in life. Whether a single mother has one child or multiple, money can get tight and life can bog her down as she works hard and pinches pennies simply to make ends meet. Fortunately, assistance is available to single moms if they are willing to look for it and complete the steps required to make it happen.
Child care assistance
One of the most important aspects of parenthood is managing your child’s wellbeing. While this is a priority, it is not always easy to provide everything you want or need for your children. When you find yourself struggling to make ends meet, you can apply for various programs that have been created specifically to help children and their families through rough times.
Such programs include:
- School breakfast and lunch programs where children are fed two full, healthy meals on the school campus
- Head Start which offers young children not yet of school age to become ready for their school days
- Boys and Girls Clubs of America offer children the opportunity to be a part of various programs that build their life skills, explore future education and career opportunities, and teach about them leadership
- YMCA offers full and partial day care opportunities as well as the opportunity for children to learn various responsibilities and create friendships
- Parks and Recreation departments at the city level generally provide classes, sports teams, or other services that are great for children to be a part
Job training and placement
With or without a higher education, it is important to have training and experience as you move into a career. As single moms do not always have the opportunity for official training, programs have been initiated to assist in job training and eventual placement when necessary.
A couple options for jobs for single moms or career training can start here:
- American Job Centers can help single mothers find education and training opportunities near them.
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a program that has four purposes, one of which includes helping families, including single mothers, prepare for the workplace.
Getting the necessary training to move forward with a career is a great way for single mothers to not only find a career that will pay the bills but will also be rewarding in other ways; no one should have to settle for a dead end job that she hates.
Federal or state welfare programs
While there are single moms who do not necessarily like the idea of being dependent on the government for monetary assistance of any kind, sometimes the help is worth taking advantage of simply for the benefit of the children involved. Federal and state welfare programs have been put into place to help keep struggling families from losing what they have and getting them back on their feet. With help for single moms, welfare programs are a great resource when jobs and other financial aid are not helping to make ends meet.
According to www.welfareinfo.org some of the basic benefits of being on welfare include:
- health care
- food stamps
- child care assistance
- cash aid
- housing assistance
While a single mother may not qualify for all of these aids at once, she may receive some of them which is better than no assistance whatsoever.
Education and tuition assistance
It is difficult being a single mom, especially when they are attending school or looking to get back into school. Money grows tight when making tuition payments—on top of child care expenses. With opportunities such as scholarships for single mothers and single mom grants, their financial worries about tuition, textbooks, and some living expenses can be put aside while they work towards their degrees.
Here are some forms of education and tuition assistance:
- grants for single moms do not need to be repaid; the awarding of the grant is based on need, which also determines the amount of the grant.
- scholarships for single moms are available through private and national agencies
- loans are not necessarily based upon need, rather they are based on the idea that you will repay the money after a given time with an added interest rate.
If it is not feasible for a single mother to make it to classes during the week, there are online opportunities that allow for parents to stay home and complete their school work. The scholarships, grants and loans that are available cover online tuition costs as well.
Rent or mortgage help
Single moms may struggle to make payments on their mortgage or even their rent from time to time; there is also the chance that they pay the rent first and have to scrounge for money for other necessities. Either way, there are solutions offering single mom help and housing for single moms and their families. Some programs offer to help find lower monthly payments while others still will pay a portion of payments until the beneficiary can pay them on her own.
Some government programs created to help with low-income family housing include:
- Housing Choice Voucher Program
- This program serves low-income families by offering to help them locate and acquire affordable, safe, and clean homes.
- Public Housing
- Public housing has been put in place for use by families with a low income; if you qualify, the local housing agency will help find a home or apartment that will fit your needs and a budget.
Loans and grants
“There are many government grants and private support available to single mothers because raising a child single-handedly is a tough job,” reads an article on SingleMotherHelp.org. With financial assistance, a single mother can care for her child in better ways than she may be able to provide on her own.
Some grants and loans that can make a difference for single mothers are:
- Direct Housing Loans are available to individuals to help them find and purchase a home; the funds can be used for various projects relating to a home
- Mutual Self-Help Loans are available to extremely low-income families in order to allow them to build their own homes; there are specific eligibility requirements as well as terms and conditions that must be met for the duration of the loan
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program gives money to those families who cannot pay their energy bills, though they must meet very specific requirements.
Non-profit programs offer assistance to people all across the globe from all walks of life. Single mothers are one such group that can benefit from the assistance and sense of community that is offered through non-profit programs and systems.
These two organizations are some that are designated specifically to the help and assistance of single mothers:
- Single Parent Advocate
- As way of describing their purpose, Single Parent Advocate writes on their home page that their purpose is to educate and empower single parents; they offer resources and assistance that helps them improve their lives
- The Mommies Network
- This organization offers the opportunity to connect with other single moms. Membership is free and within their network, you can make friends with the other moms, set up play dates, schedule a Mom’s Night Out, and join online forums where you can reach out to others in similar situations.
- Parents Without Partners
- This organization’s chapters are run exclusively by volunteer members; it offers educational activities, family activities, and adult social and recreational activities as well as service projects and various services such as babysitting, clothing supplies, and toy exchanges
- Phillips Charitable Organization
- This organization was originally founded in order to supply aid to many individuals including single parents.
- Jeremiah Program
- This program is a non-profit organization that supplies education and training for both single mothers and their children. The goal of the program is cultivate in single mothers and children their determination to be successful and move forward with whatever challenges they may face.
- Helping Hands for Single Moms
- Helping Hands is a community based nonprofit that works with poverty stricken single mothers who are continuing their education; they help them through their classes and help them reach their goals of financial independence
- HOPE Network Inc.
- HOPE is an acronym that stands for holistic-opportunities-parenting-education; as the main purpose of this organization, HOPE is used to assist single mothers in all aspect that they find themselves needing help with
Single mothers have so much assistance and help available to them that there are really no excuses for not taking part in any of it. In the end, it is simply a matter of them taking a look and putting the effort into getting the program or assistance that will help make their lives that much easier; a little bit of effort can go a long way into making a world of difference. All of the programs and opportunities listed and mentioned above have been created and are designed to help low-income families (and this more often than not includes single mothers) make the best of a tough situation, help them do and make something better with their lives, and offer their children the opportunity to be healthy, safe, and happy.