Single Parent Housing Assistance: Affordable to No-Cost

Government housing assistance programs favor families with little or no income, helping them rent apartments or houses they can afford.

Single parents often qualify for help because of two things.

  • It is hard to work and take care of kids alone.
  • One income must support the entire family.

Critical Points

  1. Apply for assistance at your local Public Housing Authority
  2. Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers help more parents
  3. Other government programs serve specific groups
    1. Section 811: individuals with disabilities
    1. VA: military veterans and surviving spouses
    1. USDA: families living in the countryside
  4. Expect long waiting lists as demand exceeds supply
  5. Your rent amount is based on your income after deductions

Government Housing Assistance Programs

Single mothers and fathers who have difficulty paying for housing have some options for government help. These programs seek to help families with low or no income find a decent place to live.

If you need housing fast, waiting in long lines will not help. So you may need another plan if you need a place right away. The resources listed below include waiting lists; more people need help than what’s available.

Public Housing Agency

The local Public Housing Authority (PHA) is an excellent first stop for single parents searching for a year-long rental help. The PHA can guide you through the different programs and see if you qualify.

An online list shows the PHA for each area. Use it to find the contact info for the one closest to your current residence. Make sure to have documents that prove you qualify.

  • Recent tax returns and pay stubs
  • Statements listing assets
  • Proof of US citizenship or legal immigrant status
  • Evidence of family size (birth certificates, adoption records, foster care papers)

Housing & Urban Development

The Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) assists families with little or no income, including single parents. HUD runs several programs.

Resource Locator

Use the HUD website to quickly identify local agencies and private property owners that can help with housing.

  • Find affordable housing opportunities
  • Locate the nearest HUD office
  • Identify your local Public Housing Agency
  • Find homeless shelter resources
  • Locate housing for special needs individuals

Section 811

HUD runs the Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program. Single parents of kids with special needs often care for them even after adulthood. At some point, they must learn to live without mom or dad.

The Section 811 program provides rental assistance resources to public housing agencies. Therefore, apply at your local PHA if you or your child have a disability.

Section 811 aims to teach independent living by giving access to helpful services in housing with lowered rent.

Section 8

HUD supports the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. Section 8 helps single parents who meet the income rules pay for places to rent from private owners.

Your local PHA determines eligibility for the Section 8 voucher based on income and family size. Qualifying families must pay 30% of their “adjusted income” for rent and utilities.

In short, the government pays the rest of the rent and utility bills. So your income, or lack of it, decides if housing will just be affordable (30% of your income) or completely free (30% of $0 is $0).

Take a look below for more details.

Veterans Administration

The VA (Veterans Administration) offers housing help for a specific group of single parents. Past members of the military and their widows or widowers may qualify.

The VA benefits help veteran families buy, refinance, build, fix up, and improve their homes.

  • Money for notable changes to help live independently
  • Home loans that don’t need as big of a down payment
  • Financial advice to avoid losing your home

Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers help to rural Americans to buy homes and improve or repair them. Single parents living in specific country areas who meet the income rules may qualify.

The USDA also provides financing to help elderly, disabled, or low-income people in rural apartment buildings pay their rent.

Affordable Housing For Low-Income

Single mothers and fathers with low incomes can make affordable housing a real possibility thanks to HUD’s Section 8 program. Families who qualify only need to pay 30% of their adjusted income for rent and utilities.

This section explains how low-income single parents can afford long-term housing through year-long apartment or house rentals.

Affordable Apartments

Your adjusted income decides how affordable an apartment will be. Remember, you pay no more than 30% of this amount for rent and utilities.

The best way to lower your share is to make the proper adjustments.

Be sure to subtract all allowed deductions to get the correct number. Check HUD’s comprehensive list online, which takes away things like:

  • Costs for teachers
  • Interest on student loans
  • Alimony
  • Money put into retirement accounts

In other words, single fathers often find apartments more affordable since they usually pay alimony instead of getting it.

Affordable Houses

Low-income single parents with many kids can sometimes find affordable single-family houses to rent. Section 8 looks at family size, too.

Families with more children can make more money, so 30% of their adjusted income may be enough to rent a house with more bedrooms.

Section 8 income limits go up 8% for each extra dependent supported. For example, a family of ten can make 48% more than a family of four and still qualify.

In conclusion, HUD’s Section 8 program helps low-income single parents afford housing. The vouchers let them rent apartments and houses within their budget.

No-Cost Housing for Zero-Income

Single mothers and fathers without income may get free housing from HUD’s Section 8 program. The vouchers require eligible families to dedicate 30% of adjusted income to rent and utilities.

The math is simple – 30% of $0 is $0.

Solo parents without income can also get help from other government benefits. This section explains how they can live rent-free in apartments or houses for up to a year.

No-Cost Apartments

Single parents without income may get apartments for free depending on where they live and their situation.

HUD looks at the highest of these four numbers to decide rent costs:

  1. 10% of monthly income
  2. 30% of income after deductions
  3. Rent amount on welfare
  4. Minimum rent set by the local housing agency

The only way to qualify is to have no income before deductions. If you make any money, 10% of that amount means you must pay some rent.

$0 Minimum Rent

In some states, tenants with no income may get free apartments since the minimum rent can be $0. Check with your local housing agency to see if they allow this.

Carefully check the Section 8 rules for counting income. Don’t include more than allowed. Certain types of assistance don’t count as income, like help from:

  • School lunch programs
  • Food stamps
  • Home energy assistance
  • Scholarships for school
  • Childcare support
  • Food for Women, Infants, and Children

Hardship Exemptions

Housing agencies must make hardship exceptions if they set the lowest rent above $0. Single parents in expensive areas could get a free apartment if any of these things apply:

  • Lost benefits help or waiting to hear if it is approved
  • Would get evicted if they had to pay the minimum
  • Income went down due to a change
  • Someone in the family passed away
  • Need accommodation for a disability

Utility Expenses

Single parents with no money may get apartments with their rent and utilities fully covered. Since Section 8 uses 10% of monthly income for rent/utilities, and 10% of $0 is $0, the housing agency could pay:

  • Rent: All of it except any minimum amount required
  • Utilities: The total cost

Pick an apartment where utilities are not included in the rent. Then, the housing agency may send the utility money directly to you. Keep energy use low to keep more of these funds:

  • Turn down the heat in the winter
  • Raise the air conditioning in the summer
  • Take quick showers
  • Don’t leave lights or appliances on when not in use

No-Cost Houses

Single parents with no income and large families may get free rental houses. Section 8 looks at family size to decide the number of bedrooms allowed.

Bigger families qualify for more bedrooms.

Family SizeBedrooms
1 – 21
3 – 42
5 – 63
7 – 84
9 – 105
11 – 126

In other words, if you have 7+ family members, only a single-family house might have enough bedrooms (4). Use tips about $0 minimum rent, hardship exemptions, and lowering utility costs to reduce housing to zero.

In conclusion, HUD’s Section 8 program can offer housing at no cost to single parents with no income due to unemployment or disability. The vouchers may help them rent apartments or houses.