Being a single mother isn't always a walk in the park, especially in these tough financial times. The good news is, help is available if you need it. There are many state, federal and charity organizations in Washington state that can provide you with food, shelter, child care and even money.
The Salvation Army is a charity organization with locations in multiple Washington State counties, including Tacoma, Pasco and Longview, that can help you with emergency and transitional shelter. The U.S. Department of Urban and Housing Development (HUD) gives assistance vouchers to single moms and other qualifying people to help them pay rent. HUD also provides affordable public housing to those who meet eligibility criteria. Speak with a housing authority representative in your county for help.
The food stamp program is federally-funded and provides assistance to anyone in the country who qualifies, including single mothers in Washington State. Benefits come in the form of a debit card loaded with the amount you're approved for, which you in turn use at the register like a bank card. Apply at the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) nearest you. Washington also has several food bank locations where you can pick up free groceries for emergency use, and women who are pregnant or have children aged five and younger can apply for the Women, Infants and Children program, which provides specific, nutrition-dense foods to low-income applicants.
Washington participates in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF), which provides low-income families with monthly cash assistance. The program is meant to be a temporary source of help so families can get on their feet and become self-supportive. Participants should become involved in Washington's WorkFirst Program in order to seek employment. Some families are limited to 60 months of assistance, DSHS notes.
Child Care Benefits
Washington State provides single mothers with the Working Connection Child Care program to help with day care costs. Eligibility in based on income, which starts at a maximum of $1,580 a month for one person and increases by about $550 as more people are added to the home, says DSHS. Applicants should either be working or involved in a DSHS work program. This program can help pay for child care provided either by licensed daycare providers, relatives who come to your home or relatives who keep your child in their home.