When You Need Assistance: Help with Rent for Single Moms

In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged our economy. Nearly half of American adults say they have either lost a job or taken a pay cut, and 16 percent have had trouble paying their rent or mortgage. These trends have hit people who were already struggling especially hard, with a third of low-income people reporting that they struggled to cover their rent in the last year.

If you’re a single mother, you may be struggling to figure out how you’re going to make ends meet. Read on to discover some programs that provide help with rent for single moms.

Subsidized Housing 

One of the most popular options for housing single moms is subsidized housing. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides low-cost housing options for people in need. Most local areas have a HUD office where you can go to ask about subsidized housing.

Many subsidized housing options are small duplexes or single-family homes in government-built neighborhoods. Not only are these options more affordable, but the government also helps to cover some of the rent. Qualifying renters can get up to 30 percent of their rent covered by these subsidized housing programs in most cases.

Section 8

If subsidized housing isn’t a reasonable option for you, you may also want to look into applying for Section 8. Unlike subsidized housing, the program doesn’t require that you live in a specific government-built neighborhood. Instead, you can rent from any landlord prepared to accept Section 8 vouchers.

If you qualify for Section 8, you could get a voucher to help cover a portion of your rent. Section 8 waiting lists tend to be very long, and you may be looking at an extended period of time before you can get approved. You may need to plan to rely on other resources for rent assistance for single moms while you wait on this approval.

Salvation Army

Most of us think of the Salvation Army as a chain of stores with affordable clothes and home goods. But the organization does much more than accept thrift donations and ring bells outside shops at Christmas. Among other things, this organization helps to provide housing to families in need.

Depending on which county you live in, the Salvation Army may be able to provide you with rental assistance. If you qualify, they will provide you a one-time $300 check any time within a two-year period. This can be a good option to have in your back pocket if money gets extra tight one month or you have to flee an abusive situation, and you need housing money fast.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities provides several different services to families in need, including providing rent and housing assistance. The organization has more than 35,000 permanent housing units that they provide for people in need. They also have another 1,200 new affordable housing units currently under construction.

Catholic Charities focuses on helping people who find themselves in crisis. They can help people transition after an eviction or other emergencies, so they don’t have to spend time living on the streets. While much of this aid is focused on older adults, they also help single mothers and other people in crisis.


CoAbode is an innovative program that helps connect single mothers so they can support each other. The organization is based around the idea of co-parenting – a recent trend in which parents who are not romantic partners band together to raise their kids. This gives you the benefit of shared parenting responsibilities without having to stay in a dangerous or unhappy relationship. 

CoAbode connects single mothers with compatible lifestyles, interests, and parenting philosophies. These women share a home, splitting costs of rent, utilities, groceries, and more. They can even trade off things like childcare to make it easier for each mother to maintain a normal work schedule.

State Agencies

Of course, many states also have programs to help single mothers and other people living in poverty. If you have had a specific crisis, such as a medical emergency or the death of a loved one, your state may provide you with a one-time check to cover your rent. You may also be able to get help with your rent and/or utilities over a longer period of time if you meet eligibility requirements.

However, every state is different, and the programs they offer will vary. You’ll need to check which programs are available in your specific state and what sort of eligibility requirements they have. You should be able to get some information at your local HUD office or your city hall.

Domestic Violence Shelters

Leaving a domestic violence situation is traumatic and may even seem impossible. One of the big questions facing women in this situation is “Where will we go?” Abusers can take away financial resources that would allow you to get another place to live, and you may feel like anywhere you will put you or your loved ones in danger. 

If you’re leaving an abusive relationship, some shelters can house and protect you and your children until you can get back on a stable footing. These shelters are meant to be temporary living situations, but they can provide a stepping stone out of a dangerous relationship. There are online resources that can help you find support in your area and advise you on leaving.

If possible, before you leave, try to open a separate bank account or credit card that your abuser doesn’t know about. These can help you get the financial standing you’ll need to get a home or apartment down the line. And if you’re worried about visiting the websites, you need to make your plans to leave; there are ways to cover your digital tracks

Eligibility for Housing Assistance

If you plan to apply for subsidized housing through HUD, your eligibility will be based on several factors. First and foremost, they will consider your income; you must be considered low income to be eligible for housing assistance.

In most cases, this means you must make 80 percent or less of the median income in your area. So if you live in an area where the median annual income is $50,000, you can make no more than $40,000 per year.

In addition to income requirements, HUD requires that you must be a U.S. citizen or have eligible immigration status. They will also check references to make sure you will be good tenants for their housing.

How to Apply 

If you think you may be eligible for housing assistance, reach out to your local HUD office to get the appropriate forms. You will need to fill out a written form that includes the names of everyone who will be living in the house, your current contact information, and information about your current income. They will also request documents to support the information you list, including birth certificates, tax returns, and more.

Once you’ve turned in your application, the local housing authority will review your application and talk to your references. They may also visit you in your current home to see how it’s kept up. You may have to complete an interview process, too, before you get approved for housing assistance.

Other Assistance for Single Mothers

Although getting affordable housing is one of the most important things, there are many other necessities that you may need help affording. If you need help getting food for your family, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, can help families with children under the age of 19. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children also provide aid to mothers with children under the age of 5. 

If you need help finding a job, some programs can assist you, especially if you’re leaving an abusive relationship. Some mentoring programs will pair women up with skilled professionals to teach them technical, professional, and personal skills. Programs like Live Your Dream also give women grants and scholarships to cover education and training courses.

Suppose you’re trying to cover medical expenses; organizations like the National Center for Victims of Crime help cover medical and dental expenses. They can even help to cover counseling costs to help you work through the trauma you’ve survived. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program can also help single mothers get the medical care they need.

Find Help with Rent for Single Moms

When you’re trying to raise children on your own, trying to figure out how to keep a roof over your heads can be challenging. The programs we’ve discussed here provide help with rent for single moms. And if you’re trying to leave an abusive situation, remember, you can always reach out to domestic violence hotlines for help getting the support you need. The number for the National Domestic Hotline is 800.799.SAFE (7233).

If you qualify for rent assistance, you may also qualify for free wireless service through the Lifeline government benefit program. Check for eligibility in one easy click.