According the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 100,000 widowed single mothers live in the United States. Often unprepared to support children alone, many of these widows struggle financially. Besides government aid that may be available, grants exist to help women in this situation.
Educational grants enable widowed single moms to attend college. Most grants are administered based on need. The U.S. Department of Education offers Pell Grants to students attending any accredited college or university. As of January 2009, the maximum Pell Grant award currently is $4,731, and is subject to change in the future. Schools also offer grants through either alumni or private foundations. Apply for grants by completing a Federal Aid for Student Application (FAFSA) available online at www.fafsa.edu.gov or through the college financial aid office. Private organizations such as Scholarships4moms.Net also provide scholarships.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) administers "Section 8" grants, or vouchers, allowing single moms to pay for all or a portion of their rent. The housing authority pays the grant amount directly to your landlord. Apply by contacting your local housing authority, listed at www.hud.gov, and be prepared for a waiting list. According to HUD, your income may not exceed 50 percent of the median income for your area to qualify. The housing authority then determines a payment standard, which is the amount needed to rent a moderately priced apartment or house in your community. According to HUD, your voucher can't exceed the lesser of the payment standard minus 30 percent of your monthly adjusted income, or the gross rent for the unit minus 30 percent of your monthly adjusted income. Many utility providers offer grants to help you pay your energy bills. Contact your local utility company for details.
Widowed single moms wishing to start a business can apply for special grants through their local Small Business Administration office or SCORE program (www.score.org). The federal government also provides grants to help widowed single moms start businesses. Visit www.grants.gov for details. The application process can be lengthy and not all applications are approved. Learn grant-writing skills to better your approval odds through courses available at your local college.
Grants Through Private Institutions
You may discover websites offering grant programs or information about applying for grants. Some sites do administer grants. Many require that you purchase books, tapes, videos or lists to obtain information. Beware of sites that ask for a credit or debit card number or offer a "free trial." You can find much of the information being offered for free through searching the web yourself or contacting the appropriate governmental agencies or programs.
Many private foundations offer grants. The Liz Logelin Foundation provides financial assistance to young widows and widowers with dependent children under 18. Apply through www.thelizlogelinfoundation.org. The Ted Lindeman Outreach Foundation offers financial grants to young families who have lost a spouse or a parent. Visit www.tedlindemanoutreachfoundation.com for details. The For the Kids Foundation (www.forthekidsfoundation.org) grants financial assistance for food, utilities, rent/mortgage payments, transportation and other basic needs, educational summer camp experiences for kids, tuition assistance and job placement, and much more.