Yes, there is good news, it really exists! There is housing assistance for single mothers that are available from several sources. It is a known fact that single mothers tend to have limited income, and so they usually require financial and other types of help. This article focuses on housing assistance, and so the reasons for the needed assistance, as well as the various types of help available to single mothers will be examined.
Reasons for Assistance
There are several reasons that could cause single mothers to need housing assistance. These include:
- Discomfort with the current living situation,
- Insufficient funds to cover daily living expenses,
- Inadequate qualifications which negatively affect job acquisition, and
- A negative credit rating status.
If a home is not owned by the family, the members may feel insecure, uncomfortable, stressed, and restless. But single mothers tend to have only a single income available to cover all the various financial needs of her family. After the initial needs of food, clothes, medical, and utility bills are taken care of, there might not be enough funds left to secure a regular loan to purchase a housing unit. This could be a spin-off from the fact that the single mom might not have the qualifications needed to secure the kind of job that would pay her enough money to have the required disposable income for that type of loan. If she has a bad credit history, due to numerous unpaid loans and credit card balances, the single mother could be in even more trouble, as a good credit rating is a pre-requisite for securing most loans. Yet, hope is not lost, and the single mother and her family do not have to live in squalor or shame, because there are housing solutions which enable even low-income families to enjoy a fairly decent standard of living.
Types of Housing Solutions and Their Benefits
Renting A Home Assistance
Some housing assistance is provided by the funding available through the federal government. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gives funds to public housing agencies (PHAs) who administer a voucher program offering housing choice vouchers. Notably, single mothers are able to choose a single-family home, a townhouse, or an apartment, as long as the unit meets the program’s requirements, so that they are not limited to living in subsidized housing projects.
The housing choice vouchers provide rent assistance. The single mother sources a dwelling place that is healthy and safe, according to the PHA’s standards, where the owner is willing to participate in the program. The PHA directly pays the landlord the subsidized portion of the rent, and the single mom pays the difference. The program is open to both US citizens and eligible non-citizens. Further information on:
- how to apply,
- the amount of the rent subsidy,
- relocation options,
- the roles of the parties involved in the program, and
- other pertinent matters, is available at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/hcv/about/fact_sheet
College Courts Apartments
If the single mother has two or three children and is attending school herself, another housing solution could be the College Courts Apartments available through Murray State University’s Housing Office, as long as she can afford the rental amount. The Courts’ two-bedroom facilities are fully furnished and reasonably priced, and would be ideal if travel issues would also be addressed. Information on how to acquire one of those apartments is available at http://www.murraystate.edu/secsv/hous/colcts.htm.
The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) is another organization which provides rental housing assistance for single mothers. This shelter can be temporary or permanent, and is available to single mothers, but especially to those mothers leaving abusive situations. Information on how to access this assistance can be obtained at http://www.ywca.org/siteapps/custom/ywca/local.aspx?c=djISI6PIKpG&b=281414.
Another non-profit organization called Mercy Housing, also offers affordable apartments for rent. They have offices in several states in the USA, from which information can be obtained. For example, the Chicago office in Illinois can be reached at https://www.mercyhousing.org/Document.Doc?id=27.
Atlantic City Housing Authority Rental Assistance Program
A tenant-based assistance program, the Section 8 Housing Assistance Program, is offered by the federal government and is managed by the Atlantic City Housing Authority Rental Assistance Program. Eligibility into the program is determined by the household’s income, which must be at or below a specific amount, and media announcements are made inviting applications at certain times. More information can be obtained at http://www.rentassistance.us/li/atlantic-city-housing-authority-rental-assistance-program.
Buying a Home Assistance
There is also the possibility that the single mother could use her housing choice voucher acquired from the Housing and Urban Development to purchase a modest home, with the public housing agency’s permission. In addition, there are homeownership vouchers issued by certain PHAs under the Homeownership Voucher Program, also for single mothers who would like to purchase their first home, but needs assistance with the monthly mortgage and other related expenses. A list of the PHAs who participate in this program is available from local PHA offices.
Home Purchase Assistance Program (HPAP)
This program is suitable for single mothers who wish to purchase a house in Washington DC, and they can receive up to $44,000 worth of financial assistance for this purpose. The funds can be used for a down payment or closing costs, or both, and has a low-interest five-year deferred loan feature. District of Columbia residents are given application acceptance preference over non-residents, but non-residents are not barred from applying for assistance. To qualify for this housing solution, the single mother:
- has to head the household as a first-time purchaser,
- must be a low or middle income resident,
- must be going to live in the house that must be located in the District, and
- must have a good credit rating.
Further information on eligibility and procedure for applying can be obtained at http://www.gwul.org/programs/housing/hpap.
American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI)
The ADDI provides funds to all US states, and targets low-income and minority households, which means that single mothers are included. An amount of $10,000 or six percent of the house’s purchase price, depending on which is greater, is provided for:
- closing costs, and
- rehabilitation assistance.
Rehabilitation includes reducing lead paint hazards and remedying other home health hazards, and this must be completed within one year of the purchase. Eligibility for funding involves not having ownership of a home during the 3-year period preceding the funding request, thereby rendering the single mother a first-time purchaser, and she must be purchasing the home for a single family. Other relevant information can be obtained from the program’s website, at
Building a Home Assistance
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian, non-profit housing organization which, along with the prospective owners, builds them decent, simple, and affordable houses. These are quite suitable for single mothers, who are required to help to provide volunteer labor, while other individuals and corporations donate cash and materials for building. The houses are sold to the families at 0% interest with no profit earned, just low mortgage payments that are used to build other houses. This housing solution is available in all 50 US states and in many countries around the world.
Habitat for Humanity – New York
This organization builds quality homes that low-income single mothers living in New York City can afford. The program offered by Habitat for Humanity – New York, uses professionals and volunteers to supply healthy, well-built, green, homes that are energy efficient, where the owners:
- pay a 2% mortgage,
- contribute a 1% cash down payment, and
- receive property-tax abatements.
Qualifications for this kind of housing aid include:
- earning 50%-80% of the city’s median income,
- possession of a good credit score,
- being a first time homeowner, and
- the single mother must be willing to participate in the building of her own home.
A visit to http://www.habitatnyc.org/pdf/housing/homeowner_brochure.pdf will provide precise information on this solution.
Habitat for Humanity – Detroit
The program in this state offers a non-discriminatory housing solution to low-income families. There is a Family Services Department which offers financial literacy training, and counseling services, among others, to families who have difficulty making mortgage payments. To qualify for this housing assistance, single mothers need to:
- complete 250-400 sweat equity hours, which are scheduled by the Department, and which earns an interest-free mortgage,
- work on the construction of their own and other families’ homes,
- volunteer in Habitat’s ReStore to help in the selling of construction materials, appliances, and other supplies, as well as
- participate in classroom-based financial literacy training regarding timely payments, etc.
Visiting http://www.habitatdetroit.org/home_ownership/ownership_overview/ is a pre-requisite for applying for assistance.
Final Word for Moms in Need of Housing Assistance
Single mothers, partly because of their status, have a tendency to need various kinds of assistance. Housing assistance for single mothers is just one type of help needed, for various reasons, including inadequate educational qualifications and hence inadequate income. Fortunately, there are various solutions available which enable single mothers to rent, purchase, and even build new units, and these are available through funding from the federal government, as well as private organizations. You might also want to check out our financial assistance for single mothers article as well — there may be some related information you find useful.