Louisiana, with its music, its iconic gastronomy and vibrant culture can be an amazing place to live. However, if you happen to be a single mother, life can be a bit tough. Single moms carry all the responsibility that’s usually shared by two parents, and with only one income, it isn’t easy to make ends meet. You have to juggle looking after the kids, doing the shopping, cooking, housework and the school runs with getting a job, finding childcare and maybe even updating your own education. Sometimes, being a single mom can feel like a pretty lonely thing to be!
If you live in Louisiana, though, the good news is that there are various state grants and programs that can help you out. If you know where to find it, you can get assistance with buying food, with paying for childcare, help with the rent and the bills, subsidies for healthcare and education. So, what are you waiting for? Here’s what you need to know…
If you are struggling on a low income, the TANF program of Louisiana might be the thing to get you on your way to a better, more self sufficient lifestyle. TANF stands for Temporary Financial Assistance for Needy Families, and if you qualify you can get up to 2 years worth of invaluable help.
Take a look at TANF, and see what they can do for you and your family. Use your 2 years well, though, as that is a lifetime’s allocation. TANF also carries a work obligation in order to participate, so if you don’t already have a job you will have to participate in a work scheme.
You might also be thinking about taking out a short term of Payday Loan to get you over a bad spell, but proceed with caution. These types of loans can get you out of a tight spot, but can also get you into a tighter one if the interest rates are punitively high, or if you incur fines for late repayment. Avoid them if possible; grants are a better bet as they don’t have to be repaid.
As a mom, it’s important to you to feed your kids on high quality food so they grow up fit and strong. You want to give them plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables for vitamins, and they need lots of cheese, eggs and milk products for strong teeth and bones. You know all this, of course, but how on earth do you afford to do it?
Single mothers in Louisiana who don’t have much cash can get help to provide their kids with good nutrition through a few different programs. SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is great, so find out how it can help you on this link:
The WIC program is another worth checking out if you have recently given birth, or are pregnant…or if you have children under the age of 5. Adopting mothers can also apply. If you fit the bill, follow the link to find out how to apply for this aid:
Finally, Louisiana also has a Food banks scheme in place in the state. These take donations of essential foodstuffs from donors such as famers and local food producers, and dish it out to needy people…people like you, if you are a single mom on a low income. Find out more here:
Yet another problem that single moms have to face is how to find and pay for good child care. As a single parent, it falls to you not only to care for your kids, but to get out to work and earn the money to raise your family well. It’s a tough call. Child care can often be difficult to find…and even when you find it, it can be expensive and too much to pay out of a tight budget. However, in Louisiana, single moms can be helped out to both find child care and to afford it. You need to discover the Louisiana Child care Assistance Program.
If this program can’t help you because you don’t fit the eligibility criteria, consider the following options. Try to get to know other single parents in your neighborhood. A problem shared can be a problem halved, and if a group of you can work together maybe you can solve your childcare problems by forming a babysitting circle, or taking it in turns to care for each others kids in non work hours. You may wok different part time hours…see if it can work for you!
Failing that, there may be a crèche run by your local church, or another religious or community group.
There are few things more worrying for a mother than her child’s health. Kids can give us health scares throughout their growing up years, and chances are you will have to make some unplanned visits to the doctor, dentist or A and E department of your local hospital at some point! It’s hoped that these illnesses and accidents are minor, but if the worst happens and your child falls seriously ill, or has a disability, you really need help.
Assistance with these difficulties and routine healthcare can sometimes be allocated through Medicaid. All the details you need are found on the link below:
If, however, you don’t qualify for Medicaid, there are other possibilities. Louisiana has a program called LaCHIP. Designed to help you pay for your kids’ healthcare needs, the program is accessed through this link:
Families should all have dent homes to live in. Homes that they can afford and homes where they feel safe in an environment appropriate for mothers and children. These types of homes can be hard to find though. In Louisiana, help with finding suitable housing and rent subsidies can be found through the Tenant Based Rental Assistance program:
There’s HUD too, (Housing and Urban Development) if you would really like to buy your own place but can’t quite find enough cash to go it alone.
Utility bills can also be a bit of a headache, arriving just when money is at its shortest supply! So, if you also need some help to pay electricity bills and other utility expenses, take a look at the LIHEAP scheme.
You want your children to do well in school so they can go on into the world and make their own way…but college costs can be scary. The same goes for you too, as it could be that if you could only go back to school and get better qualifications you could find a better job and improve the whole family’s lifestyle.
Sure, education is expensive but with all the grants, scholarships and loans available in Louisiana and across America, chances are that you won’t have to go it alone at all. When you are looking for assistance with education costs, remember that scholarships and grants are better than loans, if you can get them.
The fist thing to do is to see if you are eligible for FAFSA. This is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The link above takes you to a FAFSA website where you can find out if you are eligible for state help with education, download a form, get help filling it in if necessary, and get hold of the codes you need to apply for assistance for the college you want to attend. Just ask if you want to have someone help you fill in the form.
Schools and colleges often have their own scholarships and grants on offer to their students. If you know the college you want to attend, take a look to see what’s available. Check out the subject or course you want to do as well. Certain subjects and professional courses like nursing can attract their own grants.
If you or your kids have a disability or illness, search the internet to see if there is any specific assistance available associated with the condition. There are a lot of special needs awards made across the US every year. Sometimes even churches or religious groups offer scholarships to their members, as do some employers. Never be afraid to ask!
Finally, some large companies offer scholarships nationally, as do some celebrities.
Owning a car seems like something for people with more money than you have available, right? Not necessarily! There is a national scheme that allocates donated cars to needy people. You never know your luck! Do a search for the donate car program offered by TANF.
It is also worth checking out public transport, especially if you live in one of Louisiana’s cities or big towns. This is usually quite inexpensive, and gets you around very efficiently. If you live out in the country, or in a small town, you might be able to set up a car share with neighbors or other single moms.