Resources for Single Parents Dealing with Debt

Mother helping young daughter get ready for school.

Raising kids on your own is stressful. Covering expenses on one income is difficult enough, but there’s also the challenge of childcare, surprise emergencies, and the potential of being blocked from credit or loan resources if your credit score is low. Creating space for financial planning often takes a backseat, and you may feel like you’re treading water when you’re dealing with debt.

A little extra help can take the financial edge off and help you find time for your finances. Here are 17 resources for single parents to explore that provide financial help for families.

Assistance programs for single parents dealing with debt

You may already be using these state and national family assistance programs. If you’re not, the extra financial may help you free up some of your money to be directed toward your debt payments. It could be worth exploring if you’re eligible.

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides financial assistance to purchase food to eligible low-income individuals and families.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) provides support and financial help for low-income families, including single-parent households. It may offer temporary cash assistance, job training, and childcare assistance.
  • Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program is a federal rental assistance program that helps eligible low-income individuals and families afford safe and sanitary housing. By reducing your housing costs, you can free up funds for other financial priorities, including debt repayment.
  • Legal Aid Services. Single parents facing legal issues dealing with debt, such as bankruptcy or foreclosure, might want to look into legal aid services. These organizations often provide free or low-cost legal assistance to low-income individuals.

Organizations that provide support for single parents

The following nonprofit organizations offer financial help for families and other types of community support for single parents. If the federal and state family assistance programs listed above aren’t a match, these organizations may be able to provide some financial relief or meet a specific right-now need, like diapers for your baby.

Single Parent Advocate focuses on empowering single parents with resources, practical assistance, and a supportive community. They offer programs for single parents to help with housing, employment, education, and financial stability.

Modest Needs provides short-term financial help for families and individuals facing unexpected expenses. The organization offers grants to help with necessities such as rent, utilities, and medical expenses.

National Diaper Bank Network distributes diapers and other basic baby needs. This assistance can reduce financial strain and provide support for single parents.

Dollar Energy Fund provides utility assistance to low-income individuals and families. It offers programs for single parents and families that help with heating and cooling costs to ensure that households can maintain essential utilities.

The Salvation Army offers a variety of services, including emergency financial assistance, food assistance, and housing support. Local branches may provide targeted assistance programs for single parents in need.

Women's Independence Scholarship Program (WISP) offers scholarships to women who have survived partner abuse, assisting them in obtaining education and improving their financial situation. WISP can be valuable for single mothers seeking to enhance their skills and employability.

Financial literacy programs

Many people would like to build their financial literacy skills to deal with their debt cycle. Once you deal with your financial emergencies and carve out some extra time, these resources will help you build or expand your personal finance and budgeting knowledge.

  • (U.S. government website) provides tools and resources for single parents to help you make informed financial decisions. It covers a variety of topics, including budgeting, saving, investing, and managing debt.
  • NeighborWorks America provides training and resources on homeownership and financial capability. Their local affiliates may offer workshops on budgeting, credit, and financial planning.
  • Additionally, many community colleges and local financial institutions offer adult education programs on personal finance and budgeting. Check in with your institutions to see what they provide. They may be low cost or free.

Financial help for families dealing with debt

If you’re coping with larger issues than simply designing a budget, there are family assistance programs for those too. 

If you’re worried about losing your home, you can get foreclosure and eviction counseling to learn what your options are. The federal Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) also offers helpful resources.  

If your income has decreased and you’re trying to make ends meet on less income, check out our short webinar on the topic.

Finally, if dealing with debt has made your life chaotic and unmanageable, Debtors Anonymous is a 12-step program that offers support to individuals. Meetings provide a supportive environment for sharing experiences and learning about managing debt responsibly.

If debt, poor credit, or a lack of savings has you worried, MMI can help. We offer free, confidential financial counseling. We also offer credit counseling for anyone struggling with their month-to-month expenses. Let’s get you back on track so you can focus on your family.

Tagged in Debt strategies

Jesse Campbell photo.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, with over ten years of experience creating valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

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