Housing Assistance For Single Parents - Part 2
Habitat For Humanity
Single parents who are in need of safe, affordable housing may qualify for a home provided by Habitat for Humanity, a private organization that builds homes, largely with donated labor, and provides them to low-income Americans with very reasonable terms. You must be of low-income status and have employment. They will conduct a credit check and a home interview. Applicants living in unsafe, poor conditions located in an unsafe area, paying rent that exceeds 35% of their current net income, and not having enough bedrooms in the home for their families will receive priority.
Once accepted into the program, you will become an active participant, a partner helping the organization build a home for your family. You will spend at least 400 hours volunteering time on the building project, at the ReStore, or taking homeownership classes. You also must be willing and able to take on a mortgage for 25 years at 0% interest. The payments are sent back into the community to support the construction of more homes.
If you already have a home, you're likely to be struggling to make mortgage payments. Don't feel alone in that. Millions of Americans are in the same position, and single parents who may have taken on obligations thinking there'd be two incomes to meet them are especially vulnerable. If you are struggling to make mortgage payments, you should start by discussing the issue with your lender. Give them a call and let them know the reasoning behind the lateness of your payments and ask them for any assistance available. Be sure to explain any circumstances that are not within your control, especially if they involve late or absent alimony or child support payments. They may help create a payment plan that suits your immediate needs and keeps your family in your home. You may feel uncomfortable calling, but do not let this interfere with doing the right thing. Taking the initiative and showing concern make a positive impression on your lender.
If you have been able to keep current on your mortgage payments, you may be eligible for a program called Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP). If you are in a situation where you owe more money than your home is worth or are unhappy with the type of loan you currently have, HARP may have a solution. You may be able to refinance, with lower interest rates and mortgage payments. The current application's deadline to file is December 31, 2018, so visit Harp.gov for more information.
The Making Home Affordable (MHA) program may also be able to help you avoid foreclosure. They offer free advice and help keep you in your home. Call 1-888-995-HOPE anytime. The program offers a chance to refinance or modify on a permanent or short-term basis. You can learn more and find of list of documents you will need to prepare at the MHA.gov page.
The Bottom Line
Single parenthood is hard; there's no way to deny or sugar coat that. The demands on your time range from massive to extreme, and you have to meet a family's worth of expenses on a single income. It's particularly difficult early in the process when you're just learning to deal with the additional burdens. Programs like the ones listed above can give you the break you need to catch up on other expenses, get your financial life in order, and build a stable platform for launching a better life. Don't be embarrassed or ashamed about needing help. The purpose of these programs is to help people who need it. They aren't meant to be permanent, and in most cases, they aren't. Millions of Americans have used programs like these to get their lives and finances in order, and have moved on to be fully self-sufficient. If you need help, the first step to getting it is to admit that you need it, and the second is to go out and look for it. Once you've got it, you can think about using it effectively to get to a place where you no longer need it.
Good luck in your search for affordable housing!
Salvation Army Local Search Page
HUD Income Limits Documentation System
HUD Low-Rent Apartment Search
Find Your Local Public Housing Authority
USDA Housing Programs
US Government Home Sales Search
Habitat For Humanity
Home Affordable Refinance Program
Making Home Affordable