Raising a child is no small feat, but having to do it on your own is a different beast. It takes a multitude of resources in terms of finances and emotional support, but many single parents don’t have much of either, to begin with. With a pandemic and economic crisis still ongoing, it’s been even more difficult for medium- to low-income single parents to make ends meet for their families. Some have not recovered financially from paying off their divorce lawyer or have been furloughed because of the Coronavirus.
Housing assistance programs
Part of parenthood is finding a home that’s safe, sufficient, and within your family’s means. It’s also important to provide your family with a stable home. During childhood, excessive residential mobility puts children at a higher risk of developing mental health issues in their teenage years and early adulthood.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has several programs that can offer you support in this endeavor. They rent out living arrangements based on your gross annual income. Here are some examples.
Subsidized housing. This is a form of rental assistance that forms an agreement between the tenant, landlord, and housing authority. The government grants extra funds to landlords, who must slash the rent they charge to low-income tenants. Those who qualify for this aid don’t make more than the stipulated income limit, which varies according to the area. Senior citizens and PWDs are also eligible to apply.
Section 8 vouchers. This is a form of assistance that grants you a coupon or voucher that states the amount the government will pay your landlord. This allows you more flexibility than other options as it lets you choose your location and housing. The amount on the voucher is based on your income and family size.
Public housing. This allows you to rent a home from the local public housing agency based on your income. Unfortunately, public housing is often the last resort for low-income families. This is because public housing communities are often rife with high crime rates.
Other government assistance
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). This is a supplemental nutrition program geared towards assuring the health of children and the women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or raising a child below 5 years of age. WIC services are available all over the U.S. in locations such as hospitals, community centers, schools, public housing communities, and even mobile clinics.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This is a fund that’s granted to territories to offer support for low-income families. Eligibility individuals include those who have a child that’s 18 years old or younger, are expectant mothers, or are 18 years old or younger and are the head of their family.
Groups and organizations
Parents Without Partners (PWP). This is one of the largest and most popular organizations for single parents in the world. It is a support group for single parents and their children and aims to unite as many single-parent families so that they can offer each other help and understanding. PWP has branches around the globe. Their website has resources for those who want to form a PWP branch in their area. This is a good way to bring together other single parents in your area into a network.
Facebook groups. Apart from networks like PWP, there are also Facebook groups you can look up. This is one of your better options during a pandemic when remote interaction is your safest bet. The most popular one is Surviving Single Parenthood. It was founded by Ronald Hall, who is himself a single father. Since its creation in 2009, the private group has garnered over 100,000 members and has helped many single parents find and offer community and support.
Mental health support
With great responsibility often comes great mental and emotional strain. One of the many difficulties of being a single parent is that you might not be able to open up to your child about your emotional plights because they can be too young to understand such complicated and often overwhelming feelings. ParentHub.Org has a list of resources organized according to mental illness or disability.
One of the greatest difficulties in raising children as a single parent is the pervading thought that you’re all by yourself in doing so. But there are plenty of organizations and groups from which you can get the support that you need. Whether you require financial assistance, mental health support, or community with fellow single parents, there’s a wealth of resources that are waiting to be tapped.