As never before in history, the number of single parent families in the United States is growing exponentially. It is estimated that in 2002 (last census information available) there were 1,355,000 single fathers raising children under age 18; 5,714,000 is of single mothers raising children under age 18 which is an astonishing number of single parent families—it is expected these numbers have increased greatly in the intervening ten years.
Single parent families, most especially those headed by women are more than twice as likely to be categorized as low income than are two parent families. And sadly, more likely as well to be unable to find affordable, safe and sanitary housing.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has programs aimed at both increasing home ownership and providing for affordable housing. The program popularly called “Section 8” or more properly as the Housing Choice Voucher program makes it possible for qualifying individuals to have rental costs for apartments or public housing reduced. There are income limits and other qualifications for this federal assistance, which can be viewed at:
There are also state programs which offer living assistance, and the portal above links to a search engine for finding such programs within a particular state, territory or U.S. possession.
There are also private sources of housing assistance. Mercy Housing is a national, nonprofit organization with a state purpose of attempting to create “a more humane world where poverty is alleviated, communities are healthy and all people can develop their full potential”. Towards this end Mercy Housing develops, preserves, manages and finances affordable housing in 41 states in the United States for low income, special needs citizens, and seniors. The basic thrust of Mercy Housing is to provide affordable rental housing, although in some states the organization also is able to offer home ownership programs. The organization acquires and renovates existing housing, as well as developing new projects and properties. Mercy Housing also promotes public policy education and advocacy to increase across the board the availability of affordable housing and programs to guarantee the right of every citizen to have a decent, safe and sustainable place to live.
Mercy Housing has an application process that begins when an interested low income renter calls the property and speaks with one of their representatives who then guide them through the application process as well as detailing available units at the property. Because of high demand some properties have long waiting lists and no availability, but the representative might also be able to direct a potential renter to other equivalent Mercy Housing projects.
For more information on Mercy Housing, visit their website at: