Life can be very hard for single mothers. You have all the hard work that comes with kids, and there’s no one to share the burden with. You have all the worry too, and if the kids are ill or have problems at school, it all comes down to you to sort it out.
What’s more, if you’re a single mom, you can be stuck in an inescapable situation. You don’t have enough money, and you can’t even take a job because you can’t afford childcare so you can go out to work. Or perhaps you need to go to college to get those exams that will help you find better paid work…but education costs money too. It’s all like a nasty Ferris Wheel that there seems to be no getting off.
There is good news, though. If you are live in California, there are some established programs in place to help you. The state has several 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.
So, what you need to know is how to find what help is available in California, find out exactly what you are eligible for, how to apply for it and how to make use of it.
Getting help with food, housing and other essential stuff is often easier than getting an actual cash handout. But, sometimes only hard cash will do. You may have considered a Payday loan, but the payback rate can be punitive. There are now some payday loans that don’t have sky high payback rates, but be careful as there are a lot of sharks out there who just want to make a fast buck out of you. Don’t take on a loan you can’t pay back in the required timescale, because it will only make your problems worse in the end.
Then there’s TANF…Temporary Cash Assistance for Needy Families. They help 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:
Even if you can’t find a cash handout, take a look at all the other ways the state of California might be able to help single mothers.
Single moms need to be able to provide good, healthy food for themselves and their kids, If you’ve got young children or babies, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding it is even more important to be able to put good food on the table. The problem is, really good food like fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products and other essentials can be expensive.
California has a food stamp scheme that could be just the thing to help you. If you qualify…and you probably will as long as you are a single mom, pregnant, breastfeeding, on a low income or have kids under 5…you could receive vouchers from the state which you can exchange for essential food items. Find out more here:
California also has food banks. Donated food is allocated to those in need. With 41 food banks throughout the state, chances are there’s one near enough to you. You can find out all about food banks in California and how to use them here:
Finding reliable, affordable childcare can be such a headache for a single mother without access to much cash. Good childcare can be hard to come by under the best circumstances, and it’s often expensive. If you can’t afford childcare, you can’t take a job or a college course to better your situation. But, getting back to work can be easier then you think, as California offers help with childcare costs to single moms.
In California, Calworks is the program you need to look at if you need help with childcare.
It’s a temporary program, and it’s there to help you get into a better place so you can afford to pay for your own childcare eventually. It effectively bridges the gap for many single moms.
If Calworks can’t help you, or if you have used the scheme and now need to provide for yourself, there may be other solutions you can find locally. Getting to know other single moms in the neighborhood can help, because you might be able to arrange to take care of each other’s kids on a rota system, especially if you are working or studying part time. Sometimes your church or religious community can help too, as many have their own childcare groups available to members.
Yet another expense and often a huge worry for single parents is healthcare. We al know that premiums for healthcare policies can cost the earth, and it can be impossible to find that sort of cash.
If you have a really low income, MediCal can help. It’s California’s own Medicaid program, and you’ll find more information here:
However, even if you earn too much to qualify for that program, other help can still be found through California Kids. There is a charge, but it’s a lot lower than most and it covers all your kids’ health needs including dentistry.
A decent, safe home is an absolute necessity. No mother should be homeless, and although good housing can seem impossible to find or afford, there are programs to help in California.
The California Housing and Community Development Program is designed to help with this.
It can help you to find suitable housing for your family, and can also offer rent subsidies and discount vouchers if you want to buy your own place. The link below takes you to the website where you’ll find more information and how to get in touch.
Getting a better education can be the key that opens the door to a better future, for both you and for your kids as they grow up. So, whether it’s you who needs to enrol on a college course or your kids who are ready to get off to college, you need to find the best grants, scholarships or state funded programs around.
Firstly, see if you are eligible for FAFSA. This is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The above link will take you to a FAFSA website where you can learn about eligibility criteria, download a form, get help filling it in and discover the codes you need to apply for assistance for the college you want to attend.
Individual schools and colleges may offer their own scholarship schemes, so ask. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know what help might have been available to you. To help you further, take a look at the California Student Aid Commission. This is an excellent resource for finding state specific grants, scholarships and assistance with education needs.
Finally, even if all the above fails to help you, don’t give up. Grants and scholarships may be available through all kinds of unexpected sources. Ask locally, check if your religious group, church or community offers any help, or see if there is a local wealthy individual who is prepared to offer a hand. Search the net, and look at everything from big multinational companies to smaller local companies and even celebrities.
If you have an employer, see if they are able to help. Even a little help with the costs of education can make a big difference.
Running a car can be too costly if you’re a single parent on a limited income. Taxis too cost a lot of money, so most single moms will end up having to use public transport. If you live in a city, CALTRANS
provides affordable transport but if you live in the country you are going to find it a lot harder getting about. In these circumstances, try seeing if you can exchange favours with a neighbor, so maybe they can help you with transport in return for a little babysitting or similar.
California is a great state to live in, with a sunshine climate and a high quality of life. But, it’s also one of the most expensive states, so if you are a single mother on a low income it can make it harder than ever to survive unless you get the help you are entitled to. Make sure you use the information above to find that help.
If you single moms have any more information about assistance programs of any sort for residents of California, pleas share them in the comment section.