There are thousands of single moms living all across America, so you’re not alone. But, sometimes it can feel that way, especially if you don’t have enough money to buy the things you need for yourself and your kids. Maybe you’re worried about how to pay the utility bills, insurance for healthcare or college fees? Or perhaps you’re finding it difficult to afford nutritious food or even having problems finding an affordable home to rent?
If you’re a single mom, you can be stuck in a trap of not having enough money, yet not being able to get out to work if you can’t afford childcare. There are so many possible problems. However, if you are a resident of Arkansas, there are a good few programs in place to help you. The state has quite a few assistance programs that you might qualify for, and even if you find you’re not eligible for some of these, local companies, churches or even community groups may be able to provide the help you need.
The help is out there, but do you know how to find it?
Assistance for Single Mothers in the State of Arkansas
The state of Arkansas has plenty of help available, but it can take a bit of effort on your part to find it, especially if you don’t know where to start. The following information should help you, but there may be other sources of help too, so never stop looking even if one program rejects you.
Emergency cash assistance may be available through the Department of Health and Human Services in the county you are living in. Their website has lots of information.
Then there’s TANF…Temporary Cash Assistance for Needy Families. They are dedicated to helping needy and low income families, single moms and pregnant women, but there is a list of criteria you have to fit to be eligible for the aid. Their website has all the details of how to qualify and how to apply for the assistance. You can contact them here:
You probably won’t find many programs that offer handouts of hard cash, but there are a lot of other ways that you can be helped.
Food is a necessity of life, and if you have young kids or are pregnant or breast feeding, good, fresh, healthy food is more important than ever. Trouble is, it can be expensive, and not many single moms can afford to buy what the best. Even basic foods like fruits and vegetables, milk and cheese can be out of their reach if money is really tight.
So, it’s good to know that single moms on low incomes in Arkansas may be able to get discounted fresh fruit, vegetables and other farm produce at local Farmer’s Markets, thanks to a voucher scheme.
There are food banks in Arkansas too, maybe there’s one near to you? If you live in the north-west of the state there’s one in Fort Smith, and if you are in the south-west there’s another in Arkadelphia.
More help with food can be found through Arkansas’ SNAP (Special Nutrition Assistance) program. This gives you vouchers to spend on food…you’ll probably have to send some cash as well, but it’s a great help with the weekly shopping budget. Take a look here to see if you could be in line for SNAP assistance.
You have kids, so you need to go out to work to earn enough money to support them. But, because you have kids, you can’t go to work unless you have childcare. But, you can’t afford childcare because you don’t have a job.
Sounds familiar? It is the vicious circle that far too many single moms are stuck in. However, the good news is that there are programs in Arkansas to help you to find affordable, reliable childcare so you can get back to work.
One thing you can try is the Arkansas Better Chance Program. This is a great scheme that will pay childcare costs for single moms who are working full time (or a minimum of 30 hours a week).
If this scheme doesn’t help, perhaps because you can only work part time, try asking around to see if there are any community groups offering low cost childcare in your town. Perhaps you are a member of a church or religious group that run day care for kids? If you are working part time, you might be able to get together with other single parents to organise a childcare rota between you.
Worrying about your kids’ health is part and parcel of being apparent. However, it’s an even bigger worry if you can’t afford health insurance. You can guarantee that kids will have accidents and illnesses throughout childhood that mean medical expenses if you don’t have health cover. Maybe you qualify for Medicaid, as below,
but if you don’t, in Arkansas, a state funded program called ARKids can help. This site has clear details of the scheme and how to apply for the assistance it offers.
Finding decent, safe housing is another massive need for single moms, and can be just as big a problem. As a single mom, you not only need a home to bring up your kids in, you want to be in a safe neighbourhood and be able to pay the rent and the utility bills. Not an easy task, if you are on a low wage.
The first place to look for help with this is the HUD Housing Choice Voucher Program, which can offer assistance to buy your home.
It may also be able to subsidize rent.
Education costs can be another major headache for single moms without access to much money. You want your kids to get a good education so they can make better lives for themselves and make the most of their potential, of course, and it could also be that you want to go to college yourself. If you have better qualifications, you can get a better job…but how to afford the fees?
Firstly, see if you are eligible for FAFSA. This is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
If this doesn’t help you, there are plenty of options for finding scholarships and grants to help with educational costs. The website for the Arkansas Department of Higher Education is another good place to look for assistance.
Failing this, look for private scholarships. There are lots being offered by celebrities, companies, individuals and religious and minority groups. Use the internet, cast your search as wide as possible. That way, you’re more likely to find what you’re looking for. If you know people with kids at college, ask how they found scholarships and aid. Most people are happy to share their knowledge.
Getting about usually means getting familiar with the public transport systems that are in your town, as most single moms can’t afford private taxis or cars. But Arkansas has a program called the Transitional Employment Assistance Transportation Program. It’s designed to help with the costs associated with getting to school or work. To find out more about this scheme, you can call 1-800-482-8988.
Additional or alternative help may be available if you qualify for Medicaid.
Sometimes you can find car sharing schemes run locally by parent’s groups, or exchange transport help with childcare or anything you can offer. It could be that your employer will help, if you have a job, or perhaps your church or other community group runs a minibus? You’ll never know if you don’t ask.
Do all the research you can. Go online, even if you haven’t got a computer with internet at home, the local library or resource centre has internet access available to the public. Ask around, pick up literature in your doctor’s office, at school or anywhere else you happen to be. Get to know other parents in the town, and join local groups and community associations. Above all, understand that there is help available for single mothers in Arkansas. You aren’t alone!
If you single mothers know of any other assistance programs in the state of Arkansas, please share in the comments!