The wage gap is worse than you think. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the annual income of women is 50% lower than that of men. This is not only because the formal sector sets higher wages for male workers, but also the short time available for women to devote to work.
Without a doubt, this situation puts women at a disadvantage, especially if they live alone, are single mothers or do not have a job that generates enough to cover their expenses and needs.
Fortunately, in the United States, there are various social assistance programs that help women with limited incomes, who do not have housing or who are single mothers.
What are social assistance programs?
The welfare programs or social programs are an initiative that implements the federal or local government to improve the standard of living of part of the population. Usually, they protect groups of people who are as follows:
- They have no housing
- They are single parents
- They have limited income
- They just lost their job
- They live in disadvantaged areas
- They suffer from some disability
- They need resources to complete their studies
- They are diagnosed with chronic or occupational diseases
There are also foundations that help single women, low-income families or those with economic problems. Some receive grants from the State or donations of private capital.
Aid from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has different assistance programs for single women who do not have housing.
Housing Choice Voucher Program
What was previously known as Section 8 This program is open to people with limited resources who are looking for a rental home. The applicant must find a house or department that meets the minimum health requirements and make the request. The amount of each voucher will depend on the income, family charges and the sector where the person lives.
Each local office has its own rules. In some, it is only enough that it is a man or woman of low resources, but in others, they only grant vouchers to women with children or families.
Housing Purchase Voucher Program
It offers help for the payment of mortgages and other expenses associated with the maintenance of the home. To access it, applicants may not have other housing in their name, they must reach the minimum income required by local offices, have a full-time job and attend a consultation appointment given by the office.
As the help is for families, it is available for single mothers.
FHA mortgage loans
They are processed through banks approved by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Although it is a loan, it is more flexible than the others in the market, they do not require high credit scores and their costs are reduced.
They are also known as foreclosed homes. They are much cheaper than those offered by real estate.
Review the list of HUD homes available in this list and find the one that best suits what you need.
What requirements must you meet to be a beneficiary?
The requirements to apply for and access these programs depend on the nature of the aid but are usually reduced to the amount of annual income, whether or not you have a property and the number of family charges of the applicant. Age, sex or health condition can also be a determining factor for the application and subsequent approval of government financial aid.
You will find information on each program by going to the headquarters closest to your home, at usa.gov or by calling 1-844-USA-GOV1.
Aid from the United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture provides subsidies so that low-income people can eat a healthy diet. This program is known as WIC ( Woman, Infants and Children ).
Only pregnant or lactating women and children under 5 years of age who have a nutritional deficiency can access it.
Assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services
The Department of Health and Human Services offers federal programs in each state. One of the most requested is the Temporary Assistance Program for Needy Families. Although it is a federal initiative, the requirements may vary depending on your location.
- Provides food stamps for people with low incomes through the SNAP ( Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program )
- For assistance with the payment of electric or gas bills, there is the Low Income Home Energy Assitance Program (LIHEAP). Provides assistance in more than 50 states of the United States
- It has initiatives for the elderly, the homeless, etc.
To learn more about the requirements of each program, you must enter the official page of the state where you live and click on the Department of Health and Human Services.
Community action agencies
Aid agencies or community action are organizations, foundations and associations nonprofit that facilitate community service. They receive government subsidies and organize charity events to create social programs in the United States.
Each program varies according to the applicant’s residence status and the type of assistance required. Some of them provide help to single women who do not own housing or who have low incomes.
Among the benefits offered by community assistance agencies are:
- Food assistance
- Assistance for energy expenses
- Free advice for the payment of taxes
- Repair and waterproofing of homes
There are community action agencies in almost every state in the country. Search online for the term “community action agency”, include your location and you will find many of them, such as CAAS, First State, MECAA, among others.
Women’s Service Centers
The Women Resource Center (WRC) is an area of primary care for women. It has shelters for women and children; provides information on local and federal aid programs, and offers assistance in case the woman is a victim of domestic violence or rape.
Check its official website and you will find the centres near you, the telephone support numbers and a list of available services.