Home Buying Programs Worth a Closer Look

Having a roof over our heads is one of our essential needs. We need it to protect ourselves as well as to make us feel secure. Every parent wishes to provide a home for their child or children. Yet when you are a single parent, buying a home may seem too far out of reach. You can hardly make ends meet and buying a house is too much.

Home buying programs make all this possible. It makes the burden much easier to carry since you don’t have to shell out money in one go and the cost of the house will even be something that you can actually afford. It is important for each of use to own our own homes. Aside from the obvious of it providing us shelter, it also gives us an emotional fulfillment.

It feels great to be able to provide a house you can call your very own to your kids. You will also feel the amazing sense of security that no matter what happens, you have a home to come home to.
If you want to make the dream of owning a house come true then here are your options:

Department of Housing and Urban Development

The number one goal of the Department of Housing and Urban Development is to provide housing for families that fall on the very low or low income bracket. They have many grants and programs that range from renting a home to fixing one.

One of the assistance that they could give you is assisting you paying for your home. They will make a plan that is convenient to you but will still provide you with the house that you need. Factors that will determine your loan or discount are income and credit records.

The grants and opportunities offered by this department vary from state to state and from person to person. The only way to know for sure what’s in store for you is to contact an HUD counselor.

Home Investment Partnerships

Home Investment Partnerships is a grant that falls under HUD. This grant has the ability to assist you in purchasing your own home by providing you with the down payment. To be eligible for this program, your income has to fall under 60 percent (or less) than the HUD adjusted median family income in the state or city that you live in.

These programs are granted by the country to each state individually. Terms and conditions apply differently to each city or county. It is best that you approach your local HUD to find out more about the program as there are no fixed numbers.

Filling up and the application itself for these programs is not easy. It will require that you take some time off during the day to procure what you need to apply for these programs. It will take a lot of paper work just to complete your application. Don’t lose hope, it will take a while until you hear from them.

How to Choose a Daycare

We take good care of our children and we expect others to do the same. We want nothing but the best for them. We want to nurture them in the best possible way. These are the reasons why choosing a daycare is a tedious task.

It isn’t an easy job because we fear that choosing the wrong one will affect our child or children. Daycare is a place that they will be at every day. It is a place where they will learn skills as well as socially interact with other kids. How do you choose the best?

To visit the daycare where you plan to send your child is a very important step. It is the only way you will see for yourself how the daycare itself is. Bring your child with you too and observe him/her. One determining factor should be if your child is comfortable in that environment. Make sure that your child is, otherwise he/she will have the tendency to keep to himself/herself and won’t be learning or mingling with the others. The other factors that you should look into are:

The facility. A good day care center has nice facilities. Meaning the rooms are well painted, well-lit and has proper ventilation. It also must have specific areas for specific activities such as a changing area and an eating area. The toilets must be clean too.

One thing that most people fail to check on that is very important is an emergency plan. The daycare must be prepared for any form of emergency. All the general child safety issues must be addressed too.

Caregivers are the ones that will be nurturing your child so you should observe them well. Does your child feel at ease with them? Do they interact well with the children?

Are they qualified and well trained to handle children? Make sure to follow your gut when it comes to these things. Your child’s formative years will be spent with these caregivers and you should feel confident on leaving your kid on their hands.

It is also important to ask how long the caregivers work for the center. At least a year is good enough, longer than that is even better. Remember that kids take some time get comfortable and constantly having to change a caregiver will be hard for them.

The ratio of caregivers per child and the number of children in a group are also very important. Having enough caregivers means that your child will be getting enough attention and care.

For children under 2 years of age, there should be one caregiver for every 3 children with a maximum of six children in a group. For those between 2 to 3 years old, there should be one caregiver for every 5-7 kids and a maximum of 14 kids per group.

The Program

Check the center for accreditation from an organization. Having one or more means that the daycare center has met standards that are set for them. Ask for the program of the class where your child will be at. They should have a set program for the daycare. It should include a supervised TV time, rest time, meal time and storytelling or reading time.

These are the factors that you should take into consideration when picking out a daycare for your little one. Don’t just look into one daycare, make sure to visit as many as you can in your area. This way, you will see the best.

The Ins & Outs of TANF Programs

TANF is a federally funded grant program and stands for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. It used to be known as “welfare”. The main goal of this program is to provide financial assistance and job opportunities to needy parents.

The program temporarily helps you provide for your family by giving you financial assistance and at the same time train you for work. By the end of your term, you should have acquired enough skills to qualify for a job. So basically, TANF is a program that will mold US citizens for a more stable future.

Before you apply for this program, you must first understand how it works because unlike what you probably expected, you will have to put forth some effort to gain the benefits. TANF will ask that you help yourself.

What can you get from TANF?

TANF isn’t designed to only provide for your family financially but it will also prepare you for a better future. It will provide you with work training and will even assist you in finding a job. To be specific, you will receive food stamps from this program as well as financial assistance.

Generally you will be required to work at least 30 hours each week. The only exception is if you are a single parent with a child younger than six years of age, then your weekly requirement will drop to only 20 hours a week. You will also have to be employed for at least 2 years.

Who is eligible for TANF?

If you are born and raised in the US then you can apply for this program. Immigrants will have to have lived in the US for at least 5 years. These are the only absolute requirements in TANF.

Other factors that will affect whether you will be accepted in this program depend entirely on the state that you live in. Different rules and requirements vary from state to state.

TANF is aptly named temporary assistance for needy families since it will only be available to each and every parent for a maximum of 5 years or 60 months. After this period, you will be expected to have found a job.

This program is also quite strict when it comes to the number of hours that you are expected to work. Make sure that you are able to reach your minimum work hours in order for you to stay in the program. Failure to do so can mean receiving less of your monthly financial assistance or worse, they can revoke your benefits.

TANF may not be called the exact same thing in the state where you live in. It is known as many others such as Welfare Transition Program in Florida, Kansas Works in Kansas and Family Independence in South Carolina.

The rules and requirements will also vary from the different states so it is advisable that you find out more about the TANF in your state before you apply for one.

Surprising Ways to Get Free Stuff

When the budget is tight, we look for the best deals to make the most of the little that’s left of our money. In this case, the best deals mean it is for free. Yes, not everything has a price. You can still get something for free.

Free kiddie meals – look around your city, you just might find a restaurant that offers kids’ free meal. That is after you have purchased a regular meal of course.

There are even some restaurants that have days of the week where kids eat for free and you can have two kids qualify for this.

Free sample meds – for some us who aren’t so healthy, we regularly have to take medications. Some even have to take maintenance medications.

Now if you add all these medication costs up, you will realize that you have spent a good amount of money. The best thing that you can do to save money is ask your doctor for free samples.

They receive a good amount of medicine samples from pharmaceutical companies and they just might give you some if you ask for it.

If your doctor doesn’t have a sample of your medicine, check out the company’s website. There are several medicine companies who give out coupons.

And if you’re lucky, they might even give out a month’s worth of medicines. They sometimes do this just for you to try out their product.

Free cellphone – with the many cellphone companies in the country, they naturally have to compete against each other. They have to have the best rates and the best deals to attract more people.

They even give out free cellphones to their customers. Ask your cellphone company for mobile plans that have a free cellphone.

Online freebies – we can basically find anything on the internet, free stuff is no exception. If only you know where to look, there are several websites that offer not just single moms but everyone else free stuff.

With the world’s increasing awareness of garbage that just keeps on piling up on wastelands, there are a number of organizations and groups that help the environment by reusing and trading salvageable items.

Because of this concern, they welcome people to sign up and exchange stuff for free. If you have something that you wish to throw away, put it up on their site instead. Somebody will definitely be interested in it.

With everybody doing this, you end up with many free items to choose from. Another man’s trash is definitely another man’s treasure.

They give out free samples of anything and everything. Here are the websites that are worth checking: Freecycle in Yahoo Groups, Craigslist and babybargains.com.

Taking advantage of all this free stuff will save you loads of money that can go to other stuff that you can’t get for free! Make sure to look around because there is always an amazing deal waiting to be discovered.

Food Stamps Program FAQs

There are many programs established by the government and private sectors that help us, single parents, provide a better life for our children. The Food Stamp program is one of these. This program takes care of helping us put food on the table.

The food stamp program is brought to us by the Department of Agriculture. 42.9 million people were fed through this program in December 2010 alone.

The Food Stamp program is also known as SNAP or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program. This is where, if we qualify, we will be given food stamps to purchase essential foods. This is provided every month for normal grocery food items.

Before 2004, food stamps came by mail in the form of a “coupon book”. But nowadays, it doesn’t come in paper form anymore. Instead, you will be issued a card that’s like a debit card.

How and where does it work?

Upon completion of all requirements and given that you have qualified, you will be given an electronic benefits transfer card. As I have mentioned, this is like a debit card.

You can use this in your local grocery as a substitute for cash. The amount in your card will be replenished every month.

The good thing about food stamps is that you can use it basically everywhere. Most convenient stores and groceries accept it. Even vendors in farmers markets accept it.

How do I qualify?

First and foremost, to benefit from this program you have to be a US citizen, an immigrant or a refugee. All of these legally obtained of course. All of the people in your household must also have a Social Security Number.

As for financial qualifications, it all depends on the size of your household. If there’s two of you, your monthly net income must not exceed $1226. Monthly net income means the amount that’s left after your taxes and other deductibles have been deducted.

What can and can’t I buy with food stamp?

You can purchase a variety of foods with your food stamp. You can even purchase edible plants with it. And because the government encourages you to grow your own edible garden, you can also purchase seeds for fruits and vegetables with it.

This is really beneficial since having your own edible garden means being sustainable. Once you have your garden, your food stamp money can be used to purchase more food that you couldn’t grow yourself.

What you can’t buy with your food stamp is alcohol beverages, pet food and food that you will be consuming inside the store. You may not be able to purchase inedible household supplies either. This includes toiletries and utensils.

Remember that whatever I have discussed above may not hold true for every state. Visit your state’s website for current qualifications and rules.

Finding The Best Health Insurance

Annual visits to the dentist and regular visits to the doctor are only two of the things that women worry about, medically speaking. Not to mention the lump sum of money we have all shelled out to buy medications. They say health is wealth but it takes wealth to take care of one’s health.

When you’re a single mom, you not only have to worry about your own but your kids’ as well. For most of us, we don’t have a lot of money at our disposal. And when medical bills pile up, what do we do? Health insurance can be a big help. But finding good health insurance is yet another exhausting task.

A good health insurance plan will help you save money. When emergencies happen, you will not have to worry about the financial burden. What a tremendous weight off of your shoulders. We all want a good deal but before anything else, let’s understand health insurance lingo.

Premiums – health insurance premiums is the amount that you pay every month. It ranges and varies depending on the health insurance that you have availed. Factors that affect it are your location, number of dependents, your health and so on.

Deductibles – a deductible is the percentage amount of money that you will have to shell out before the insurance company chips in on their contribution.

Co-pay – is an exact amount of money that you, the insured, have to pay before your health insurance takes over.

Co-insurance – unlike deductibles and co-pay, co-insurance is a percentage amount that your insurance company will pay annually after your deductible has been reached.

Finding cheap health insurance options

Location, location, location – your location, or the location of your health insurance company is a big factor that affects the cost of your insurance. It depends on the state where the insurance is licensed to do business. Make sure you look at all the possible insurance companies in your city or town to find the best deal.

Needs – For a single mom, consider what you and your kids will be constantly needing like dental, optical and pediatric care. It is important for you to find a health insurance that includes your kids since they will most likely be visiting the doctor more than you.

Help from a broker – You may be thinking that a broker will only take money out of your pocket. Brokers will make your job of finding a good health insurance much easier.

She will even give you the best deals since a good broker has a lot of connections. Having a broker means saving you time, effort and even money from going around scouring for the best insurance. Make sure though that you have a reputable broker.

These three tips are surefire ways on how to get the best deal for your health insurance. These are three factors that affect the price of your insurance.

Financial Aid: Making Life Easier

Are you a single mom who is interested in continuing your education but lack the time and money to support this decision? During these times of recession and economic upheaval, looking for a job is a big challenge and not having a university degree is an obstacle.

To make matters worse, increasing your financial burden with tuition, materials and fares is just not an option for a you. But wait, what if you could qualify for financial aid? Would you go back to college? Of course, you would!

What kind of help you need?

You have to have to be clear about what kind of help you need. There are numerous things you might need help with and their is more or less an appropriate program for that. The usual financial assistance needs are housing, food, child care, education, and medical care.

Who can help you?

Government and non-government sectors, both have agencies or programs which give financial help to low-income families.

Where can you look for them?

You can visit their websites on the net, or you can go to your local government to find out what specific assistance programs you qualify for. You can also check out business ads. Here are some government and non-government sources for help:

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

This is a program under the U.S. Department of Education providing financial aid for education. They educate you on obtaining aid, process educational aid requests, and disburse funds for students through schools and more. This is their official website: FAFSA.

U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

This government agency’s mission is “to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all”. Fair, public, and multifamily housing all fall under HUD umbrella jurisdiction. To find out more, go this site: HUD.gov.

CoAbode

This is a private organization which offers housing assistance for single mothers and low-income families. They carefully select single parent families who will live together so they can minimize their living expenses and share responsibilities. Find out more about CoAbode.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

This is a program that helps provide for the family’s basic needs while the parent is unable to find employment. This is also commonly referred to as welfare. For more info follow this URL: http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/programs/tanf/index.html.

How can you qualify for it?

Qualifications may vary depending on the company or group but families with low-income are qualified. For further information and aid, you can always approach your local government to see what they can do to assist you.

Financial assistance sources include a multitude of programs, which range from housing assistance, home improvement programs, educational opportunities to health care. The government has a vested interest in your success. These programs are in place to assist you. We firmly believe that one of the best investments you can make is in yourself by applying for grants and scholarships. The American Dream can be yours.

Housing For A Single Mom’s Family

Are you a single mom tired of paying for a house that’s not even yours and wouldn’t be yours in the end? Are you fed up with moving from one home to another or having to live in a cramped space just because its cheap? It must weigh on your nerves knowing that you’re paying month after month on a home and it isn’t exactly your dream home!

The (Im)Possible Dream

We want to give everything the world has to offer for our children. We want our children to grow in a house that has enough space for them to run and enjoy their childhood. We’d like to give them roots, and a place they can go home to and get a break after or in between: a long and tiring journey towards their dreams or a series of battles that comes with growing up.

In order to give these things to them, we slave away and work so hard to provide for them. But the money we earn is always just enough to get by, we do not have extra money to afford a home of our own so, we resign ourselves and tag our visions as impossible dreams. But it is POSSIBLE!

Housing

The housing assistance program is a gateway to providing shelter for your family. Pipe dreams can become reality, and the first step is knowing where to go for help. There are many programs which can help in providing housing for single mothers, like the following:

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

This develops programs that offer government assistance for low-income families look for a home of their choice like single family homes. They also help you locate emergency housing. You can also choose your own house as long as they meet the requirements of the program. For more information you can visit the HUD website.

USDA – Rural Development / Housing & Community Facilities Programs (HCFP)

This program targets rural Americans. It assists them in being able to own their homes and they offer rental assistance to help you keep up with your rent. Visit here to know more about this: www.rurdev.usda.gov.

Housing Finance Agencies

This group offers help to people and groups who have low-income. This includes single parent families. It regulates twelve federal banks. Learn more about it this alternative at MakingHomeAffordable.gov.

These are just a few of the many options available to you in helping secure affordable housing, obtain rent assistance or even own a home. Check them out!