If you are a single mom, then you already know all about hard work. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty five days a year. A mother’s work is never done.
If you are a single mom, you might also sometimes need a little bit of help. If you are trying to navigate through the process of filing for a government grant, you probably have lots of questions that you want answers to. Today, we are going to try to help you navigate through some of those questions, and help you find the answers that you need!
QUESTION: What exactly is a government grant?
ANSWER: A grant is a monetary reward given for a certain purpose. Most grants are given for education purposes. A grant is different from a loan in the fact that grants do not have to be repaid.
QUESTION: What can a grant do for me as a single mother?
ANSWER: There are so many different ways that grants can benefit a variety of people, not just single mothers. As a single mom, grants can help provide you with a decent car, a safe place to live, a chance to start or further your education, or the opportunity to start a small business, as well as the chance to do something positive and make a difference in your community.
QUESTION: Where should I begin my search for grants for single mothers?
ANSWER: I would recommend starting your search for grants to further your education by filling out the FAFSA (Free Application For Student Aid) available at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. This is the main starting place for all educational grants, loans, scholarships, etc. You can also visit the Grants.gov website at: http://www.grants.gov/, or the HUD website at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD. These are all good starting points.
QUESTION: Are all grants available to everyone?
ANSWER: The answer, in short, no. Most grants that are not educational, or housing grants, are not available to individuals. You have to be careful to make sure that the grant you are applying for is not for a business, organization or non profit.
QUESTION: How do I know which grants are for individuals?
ANSWER: Any grant that you get through the FAFSA website will be for individuals. Also, if you are using the grants.gov website, you have to go to “advanced search”, and change the search terms to include only grants that are eligible for individuals.
QUESTION: What type of housing grants are available from the HUD website?
ANSWER: The HUD (Housing and Urban Development) website has many different types of grants for housing available. The HUD website makes it very simple to apply for a grant. They actually have a tab on the front of the web page that says “Apply For A Grant”. You do have to be registered with grants.gov first, so please keep that in mind. Some examples of grants on the HUD website that would be available to single moms include the Public Housing Agency Housing Choice Voucher Grant, and the American Dream Down Payment Initiative.
The Public Housing Agency Housing Choice Voucher Program helps to provide a wide variety of people (especially single mothers) with affordable, decent housing. The program provides housing vouchers to low income families. These vouchers are a form of grant. The vouchers help pay for a portion of your rent. However, they may not pay for all of it. For each rent payment, you have to contribute at least 30% of your income. You can also find more information about this grant program by contacting your local Public Housing Authority.
The American Dream Down Payment Initiative is offered through HUD and can help low income families (especially single moms!) in financing a home! The American Dream Down Payment Initiative pays $10,000 or 6% of the cost of your home, whichever is higher. This program can also help you with closing costs, inspections, and other home-buying-related expenses. To find out more about this grant, visit the HUD website.
QUESTION: What types of grants are available for education?
ANSWER: Education grants are probably the easiest to find (and get!).
The Federal Pell Grant is probably the most popular and well known. You can get up to $5500 with this grant that can be used for tuition, books, transportation to and from school, etc. There is also an Academic Competitiveness Grant that is available to first and second year college students that have preformed well in high school. This grant can award $750 to first year students and $1300 to second year students. There is also a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, for students that have the greatest financial need. This grant can award up to $4000.
QUESTION: What Do I Need When Applying For Grants?
ANSWER: Each application process for grants is different, and the application package will tell you exactly what you need. Make sure to have all of your personal information (address, social security number, etc) ready, and sometimes you might even need financial information such as tax forms, pay information, etc. My advice is to prepare for applying for a grant with the same paperwork you would take with you when filing your taxes. That way you should be prepared. I really can’t give a specific answer as to what each grant application will entail, as they are all different, but having all of your personal information handy will definitely help. Please note that you will usually have to write a grant proposal. This is kind of like an essay, written in your own words, about why you want the grant.
These are all the questions that we have time for today. I would like to close by saying that the grant application process can be very tricky and confusing, but please stick with it. Do not give up! There are grants out there for you, and they have the possibility to change your life completely! We will be continuing to cover the different types of grants, and we will talk more in detail about grants and the ways that they can help single mothers in the near future, so stay tuned for more information!