Housing Assistance Programs for Single Mothers

If you are a single mother, it is often challenging to find safe and affordable housing for your family. There are national and state housing assistance programs that can help. Learn about these programs and explore your options.

Subsidized Housing

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) works with property owners to offer reduced rent to low-income families.

While subsidized housing assistance isn't limited to single-parent families, it's one of the most common rental assistance programs available to single mothers and their children.

How It Works

The government gives funds directly to apartment owners, who then decrease the amount of rent they charge to low-income tenants. This form of subsidized housing assistance is available for low-income families, as well as individuals, senior citizens, and people with disabilities.

Low-income single mothers looking to participate in HUD's subsidized housing program should begin by looking for an apartment on the HUD website.

Who Qualifies?

To qualify for this type of rental assistance, you must earn no more than the HUD's current income limit, which varies by state and changes every year. To find the current income limit in your area, access the HUD's income limit tables.

Section 8 Vouchers

Apartment for Rent

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers Section 8 vouchers. These coupons are given directly to qualifying low-income renters, who can then use the vouchers as part of their rent. Landlords then submit the vouchers directly to HUD for repayment.

Benefits 

  • In some cases, they can be used to purchase a home
  • They reduce your rent
  • They're usually the most flexible rental assistance available.
  • You can choose where you want to live

Qualification Rules

  • By law, the government must give 75% of its Section 8 housing vouchers to families who earn less than 30% of the median income for that area
  • Eligibility is based on income and family size
  • Total income cannot exceed 50% of the median income for your area

Keep in mind that median income rates typically change annually, so even if you've been denied Section 8 housing vouchers in the past, you may qualify in the future.

Single mothers who wish to participate in HUD's Section 8 Housing program should contact their local Public Housing Agency (PHA) to learn more.

State-Sponsored Housing

Rental Agreement

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This type of housing assistance for single mothers and their children is similar to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's subsidized housing program, but it is run by individual states. State-sponsored housing gives single mothers an additional opportunity to find safe, secure, available housing—possibly without having to move to a new location.

To find state-sponsored housing programs in your area, visit the Housing and Urban Development's local information page and select your state.

Public Housing

Public Housing in NYC

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers low-income public housing to families in need. While public housing developments are supposed to be both decent and safe, this is often a less-desirable option for low-income families.

Pros and Cons

While HUD's public housing program has made strides in recent years, significant challenges exist for families looking for safe, secure housing.

Pros

  • HUD oversees public housing—and its landlords. This can mean that single mothers living in public housing have, in some cases, greater access to a landlord who can provide assistance with repairs when needed.
  • Some public housing communities offer family-friendly activities and parenting classes, as well as financial counseling.

Cons

  • It can be difficult to transition to other forms of low-income housing.
  • Many public housing communities are plagued with high crime rates.

To find HUD-sponsored public housing in your area, contact your state's Public Housing Agency directly.

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Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Housing Choice Vouchers Fact Sheet.

  2. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Housing Choice Vouchers Fact Sheet.