Find Out About Rental Assistance for Single Parents

Being a single parent can be difficult for many reasons. Due to the high expenses needed to care for children and the limited income they earn, single parents are often the poorest and most vulnerable. Housing costs are often the largest expense for households, and can be exceptionally difficult for single parents if they do not receive assistance. Many of these families are at risk for homelessness. 

According to U.S. statistics, a large portion of families that experience homelessness are single-parent households that consist of a mother and one to three dependent children. Luckily, single-parent households that are struggling with rental payments can obtain government housing assistance. These programs are available at local, state and federal levels. Many may qualify for low-cost rent through the public housing or Section 8. On the other hand, local organizations may have other resources to offer. 

Learn About Requirements for Single-Parent Rent Assistance 

Rental assistance for single parents is meant to provide families with one parent an opportunity to reduce their financial struggles. This means that applicants must earn a low or very low income in order to qualify for these assistance programs. 

Currently, the demand for rental assistance in America is high, as there are millions of residents with low incomes who need help paying their rent. Oftentimes, need surpasses the resources that a community has to offer. As a result, housing and rent assistance programs are affected and must adjust their eligibility requirements. 

Basic Information About Rental Assistance for Single Parents

The need for single-parent household rental assistance is common in the United States. Thus, a number of community and government organizations have created programs and resources in order to help these families who are struggling financially. Different organizations have various eligibility requirements, benefits and resources. Thus, you may qualify to receive assistance from one program but not another.  

Learn About Single-Parent Government Rent Assistance 

There a number of assistance programs offered by state and federal governments that strive to help single parents with housing. Read below to learn about the programs that may be able to help with rent.

About Public Housing

Public housing is a program offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Families who qualify are able to live in low-cost, state-owned properties. Under the program, single parents who earn low or very low incomes are better able to afford rental costs, because public housing units typically offered at reduced rates.

In order to qualify for public housing, you must earn a low or very low income. The exact amount that qualifies is based on the typical income of the area you live in, and the amount of members in your household. Additionally, you must have a certain family composition and be either a citizen of the United States or a lawful non-citizen. 

To apply for public housing benefits, you must contact and visit your local public housing agency (PHA) office. There, you can obtain and submit an application. Depending on numerous factors, including the availability of resources, you will either be placed on a waiting list or receive benefits immediately. 

About Section 8 

The Section 8 program, now referred to as the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, is another option for single parents to obtain rental assistance. Like the Public Housing Program, Section 8 is offered by HUD. Participants of the Housing Choice Voucher program pay a small portion of their total rental payment to their landlord, while their local PHA pays the rest. Thus, total rent costs are reduced for beneficiaries.

Eligibility criteria for Section 8 are similar to that of public housing. For instance, applicants must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens, earn below a certain income and have a particular family composition. 

In a qualifying household, there must be at least one member who is either disabled, elderly or younger than 17 years of age. Moreover, the exact income that applicants need to have in order to qualify depends on where they live, as average incomes vary by city. 

If you are interested in applying for the Housing Choice Voucher program, you must visit your nearby public housing agency. You can submit your application there, as well as learn about other resources. If your PHA approves your application, you will either receive assistance immediately or will be put on a waitlist. 

Learn About Private Rental Assistance for Single Parents 

In addition to government assistance programs, charities and non-profit organizations within local communities also have resources and are able to help low-income residents with costs. Different programs and organizations offer various resources and benefits. 

Some provide food for qualifying applicants, while others offer furniture or clothing at low costs or even for free. Others still are able to provide financial assistance that can be utilized toward rental costs. 

The Salvation Army is a notable organization that works to assist local communities throughout the United States. This organization is known for its outreach to homeless residents and veterans. Through the Salvation Army, single parents may be able to obtain emergency housing assistance. Additionally, the Salvation Army can help eligible families pay for their utilities to prevent shut-off.

Furthermore, with the Salvation Army’s focus on assisting homeless families, there are numerous homeless, emergency and transitional housing centers throughout the country. Thus, if you are in need of emergency housing, you will likely find a homeless shelter owned by the Salvation Army. In addition, the organization offers counseling and job training in order to further assist needy families to over financial hardship. 

While the Salvation Army is a large and well-known organization that can greatly assist you and your family, there numerous other charities that you can turn to. One organization is Goodwill, which can help you find low-cost home goods and clothing. Additionally, certain Goodwill locations provide tutoring and childcare services. 

Another business that assists low-income families is the Community Economic Development organization, or CED. Through the CED, you can obtain financial aid if you are experiencing homelessness or another type of crisis. 

This organization also often provides food, utility assistance and emergency housing. However, it is important to note that the CED does not offer assistance services to individual residents. You must be a one- or two-parent household with at least one child to qualify.