Immediate Financial Assistance for Single Parents

Single parents often need immediate financial assistance during crises. Many have no extra money saved for unexpected costs.

Single parents cannot afford to wait when short on cash. They need assistance immediately to survive.

Critical Points

  • Private organizations respond quickly but offer less appealing benefits. Therefore, they are better for urgent but temporary needs.
  • Government agencies slowly move while offering better benefits. Therefore, they are better for avoiding emergencies.
  • Using existing benefits minimizes wait times overall.

Emergency Cash Assistance

Single parents are likelier to find emergency cash assistance through a private company that moves quickly. Government agencies operate at the speed of a turtle but offer better benefits.

Private Companies

Private lenders can provide single parents with emergency cash swiftly. But they charge interest on loans.

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Unsecured loans take less time because they do not require collateral. Lenders only consider the borrowing credentials of the person.

  • Sufficient earnings
  • Verifiable employment
  • Credit score above 670
  • Open bank account

Unsecured loans can offer quick funds in an emergency. But be sure you can repay the lender as agreed. Missing payments could make your financial problems even worse.

Government Programs

Government assistance programs provide funds to help low-income single parents facing emergencies. This cash does not need to be repaid, making the benefits widely used.

However, qualifying takes time as agencies thoroughly review applications. Do not expect immediate approval. Stay patient and actively work the process.


The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides funds to help many single parents prevent emergencies. TANF assists recipients to become financially independent through jobs.

Apply for TANF at the state agency in charge. You must qualify under specific rules.

  • Be a US citizen or legal alien
  • Be unemployed or underemployed
  • Have a child 18 years of age or younger, or
    • Be pregnant
    • Be 18 years of age or younger and the head of your household


Government assistance programs do not provide emergency grants. Single parents needing immediate funding should seek other sources for urgent cash help.

Hardship grants assist single parents in paying for college. The Department of Education oversees the Pell Grant program to help undergraduates with high financial needs.

You must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, which requires time to finish and review. Also, Pell Grant funds are paid to the college, not directly to the student.


Single parents may receive money to help pay electric, gas, and heating oil bills to avoid service shut-offs due to non-payment. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) focuses on households at risk of losing heat or air conditioning.

Apply for LIHEAP by contacting your local energy assistance office. Single-parent households often meet the income limit, especially with multiple children. Family size strongly affects eligibility.


Single parents can get financial help paying sewer bills to stop their water from being turned off. The government program that helps low-income families with water bills, called LIWAP, offers some good options.

The LIWAP program can help in these ways:

  • Avoid service disruptions
  • Restore services
  • Stay current on payments
  • Pay reconnection fees

Apply for help from the LIWAP program at your local state office. This benefit lets you take showers, use the toilet, and wash your clothes and dishes without worry. The rules to qualify are very close to the ones for LIHEAP.

Urgent Medicaid Assistance

Many know that Medicaid helps families with health costs when money is tight. Single parents often meet the rules. You can get quick help after a medical problem if you already have coverage.

What many don’t know is Medicaid helps adults in three ways.

  1. It provides health coverage the same across the country.
  2. Each state decides how it pays for dental care differently.
  3. Each state also has its own rules for eye doctor visits and glasses.

Dental Care

Single moms already on Medicaid may or may not get quick dental help, depending on who needs it and where they live.

  • Medicaid typically pays for kids’ regular dental checkups and treatments nationwide.
  • Each state has its own rules for paying for routine dental care for adults.
  • But Medicaid will pay for dental work adults need for a health problem in any state. Some examples are fixing teeth affected by sickness or injury or dental work that doctors say must be done with other medical treatments. The care has to be what doctors usually do and not cost more than other options.

Vision Care

Single moms already on Medicaid may or may not get quick help with eye care, depending on who needs it and where they live.

  • Medicaid typically pays for eye doctor visits and treatments nationwide if needed for an eye illness, injury, or symptom.
  • Each state’s rules differ for routine vision coverage, like exams and glasses or contacts to fix nearsightedness and other common eye problems. Some states cover these well, others less so.

Crisis Food Assistance

Single parents struggling to feed their kids can get immediate help from private groups. Government programs then take over longer-term food needs.

Food Pantries

Single moms can visit the local food pantry when their kids are hungry. Private groups like charities and nonprofits run programs that help with quick, short-term food needs.

To find a food pantry near you giving away free hot meals and grocery items, search for one online. Type in your zip code and instantly get a listing of centers.


Single moms may qualify for help getting baby formula and breastfeeding advice. The WIC (Women, Infant & Children) program is a government benefit that protects new moms and their babies after birth.

Apply for WIC by calling your state office in charge of the program. Ask them to set up a time for you to meet. They will tell you what papers to bring to prove you can get help from WIC.


Single moms can often get help paying for groceries. SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is a government benefit that helps lower-income families buy food.

Apply for food stamps by calling your local SNAP office. Families with one parent often meet the rules for income and assets set by each state.

Emergency Housing Assistance

Consider all choices, from the government and private groups, when looking for emergency help with housing as a single parent. Your kids need a safe, clean home right now.

Look for long-term affordable housing after your urgent needs are met. Take it one thing at a time, and check everywhere for options.

Government Housing

Single parents may qualify for quick help with housing from government programs. You could immediately move into a new apartment if you rank high in their system.

Apply at your local Housing Office after learning the steps to get your name near the top of their list. Spending an hour now could save months searching for a home for you and your kids.

Waiting Lists

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) runs housing programs with waitlists. But they don’t go in the order received. HUD uses a points system to decide who gets housing first.

You can move up the waitlist fast by scoring lots of points.

Scoring System

You can get a higher score by doing some homework first. Search online for your state’s “Continuum of Care Operations Manual.”

Get ready to answer their questions by learning what will raise your point total. Your score may depend on:

  • Income
  • Number of people in your family
  • Your housing history
  • Physical and mental health issues in the past
  • Criminal record

Instructional Video

Check out this video by Section 8 Consulting. It shows the best way to answer the questions to get more points. Remember, a higher score means getting housing sooner.

Charitable Housing

Single parents may be able to get help with housing from charities faster than the government. Nonprofit groups can sometimes act more quickly than agencies.

Here is a partial list of charities across the country that may be able to help you into an apartment right away.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities offers affordable housing help through short-term shelters and long-term support for those in need.

Bridge Of Hope

Bridge of Hope teaches and prepares Christian groups like churches, Bible study groups, and house churches. They learn how to help people experiencing homelessness in authentic, hands-on ways as good neighbors.


Socialserve is a nonprofit group that helps people in two languages. They connect individuals to housing and jobs, giving people a second chance. Socialserve assists potential tenants in applying for housing waitlists and programs.

Habitat For Humanities

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit that helps families build and fix homes. They think everyone should have an affordable place to live to make communities stronger.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is part of the Christian church and provides different housing help for those in need:

  • Short-term shelter
  • Temporary homes during a transition
  • Long-term apartments with support
  • Help for those leaving jail or prison