There are over 9 million single mothers and 2 million single fathers in the United States. Within these numbers, an astonishing 60 percent are living on or below the poverty line. Much of that is attributed to childcare. Single parents who work full time find themselves spending 40% of their income on childcare.
Most single parents work minimum wage jobs. Between childcare, transportation, food and shelter it’s no surprise many parents are in danger of being evicted. At times, parents find themselves at a point where they need to make a choice between feeding their children and paying the rent.
This leads to eviction in many cases.
What To Do If You Receive An Eviction Notice
Seeing an eviction notice on your door can be devastating. Not knowing where to turn in such circumstances can have you feeling helpless and alone. The first step is to seek legal assistance. In every county clerks office, there is legal aid assistance where you can speak to a paralegal for free. Know your rights. If your landlord is evicting you for reasons that are not pertaining to rent, for example because you asked for your toilet to be fixed, then there are laws to protect you. If you are being evicted because of non-payment there are programs that can assist you with rental assistance.
Getting Legal Assistance
Time is of the essence when you receive an eviction notice. Avoiding it will not make it go away. It can lead to you and your family being forced out by a Marshal. A Marshal has the legal right to physically escort you out of your home and lock you out. Your personal items will stay in the apartment until you find a place to put them.
If you have already been locked out, then chances are you have been served the eviction notice and you did not respond. If you never received a notice you may be in your rights to file a petition for improper service. Your landlord will have to prove that they served you. Before a landlord is granted an eviction order by the court, they will have to provide this documentation to the judge. Therefore, if you know you have been served do not use this as a method to prolong the eviction.
You can choose to answer your eviction on your own. If you do so you will be required to file a petition. The petition will have a court fee attached. The court fee may be waived if you provide proof that you are unemployed or low income. You may then speak to the judge and tell them your side. In most cases they will give you time to move out, although in some states there are laws already in place that allow a landlord to evict you as soon as 5 days.
Here is a list of Pro-Bono organizations. Although we do not endorse any specific one, calling is free and they can direct you to low income sliding scale based service or completely free legal assistance.
Knowledge Is Power
Many parents are unaware that there are federal, state and community programs available to assist. The hard part is going in person and applying for such programs, you may feel you are not qualified or they won’t help. Below is a list of statewide programs and their requirements. Click on the link to go directly to that resource.
- One Shot Deal
- Many states have this resource through the department of social services (HRA). They will assist you with back rent that is owed. They will pay the money directly to the landlord. Every state has this program although it may be under a different name. Please dial 411 to find your local Human Resource Administration office. They can also assist you with utility bill shut-offs.
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- They provide grants to single parents who are struggling financially.
- Provide financial assistance and community resources to needy families so children can be cared for in their own homes
- Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- Has a large resource list of community and federal programs that can assist low-income families looking for financial assistance.
- Provides section 8 vouchers, as well as low-income housing. Click here to locate an office near you.
- United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development
- They provide grants to low-income individuals looking to purchase a home.
- Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance Program
- HAP assists individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness by helping families move into a transitional and permanent apartment.
- Salvation Army
- They assist with utility shutoffs, emergency shelters, transitional living centers and provide food, housing, and overnight stays.
- They also assist with job training and counseling. Click above link to see all of the resources the Salvation Army provides.
- They provide services like childcare, after-school programs for youth, educational programs for the elderly and people with disabilities.
- They also assist with connecting you to other community services for financial assistance.
- Community Economic Development (CED)
- They can assist with emergency temporary housing, energy assistance and utility shut-off help.
- Emergency food, clothing, and furniture.
- Crisis intervention for child or spousal abuse.
If you find yourself not being able to prevent your eviction then contact the below organizations as soon as possible.
- Coalition for the Homeless
- They have a rental assistance program that can help you if you are currently homeless and looking for permanent housing.
- They can also assist you with eviction prevention.
- Provides emergency shelter to individuals, victims of domestic violence, veterans, and families.
- Volunteers of America
- Assists families, veterans, and seniors with low-income housing.
Other Emergency Shelter Directories
There are other methods of help. One is looking at a website that provides emergency shelter listings — places you can go right away to find a free place to stay, a number to call, or some method for immediate help. Give these legit sites below a look at if you need a place to stay. There may be something in your are.
The Final Word
In January of 2015, over 564,000 people were homeless in the United States. Over 206,000 of those individuals were people with families. We understand that being in this position is heartbreaking and extremely difficult, but don’t give up hope. We have put together this list to help you find the resources you need. We suggest you call every number on this list until you get the help you and your family requires.
Also look at our Rental Assistance resource page which has more links to more programs if you need help with housing.