Housing Assistance for Single Mothers in Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania single mothers can receive housing assistance through state and federal programs.
Pennsylvania single mothers can receive housing assistance through state and federal programs. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Single Pennsylvania mothers can receive housing assistance through government programs and nonprofit organizations. Local housing agencies administer federal programs, which serve as the foundation for housing assistance, offering rent subsidies and affordable public housing for Pennsylvanians. Mothers who own their homes can receive state assistance to prevent foreclosure or make health- or safety-related repairs. Housing assistance programs typically require families to meet income guidelines and benefits may vary, depending on the Pennsylvania location.

Housing Choice Voucher Program

The federal Housing Choice Voucher program (HCVP) provides rent subsidies for low-income families, disabled individuals and senior citizens. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD, sponsors the HCVP and administers benefits through local Pennsylvania housing agencies. HCVP participants can choose housing from the private rental market, including townhouses, single-family homes or apartments. The HCVP requires recipients to pay part of the monthly rent from their own funds and the local housing agency pays the subsidy to the property owner. According to the National Center for Health in Public Housing, the HCVP provides housing assistance for more than 34,000 Pennsylvanians in Philadelphia alone.

Public Housing

Local Pennsylvania housing agencies administer the Public Housing Program, which HUD funds and offers throughout the United States. Housing agencies own and manage public housing units, which can include apartments or single-family homes. Local housing agencies determine eligibility and rent amounts for public housing and extend eligibility to low-income individuals and families, the disabled and senior citizens. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates Pennsylvania has nearly 63,000 public housing units, with over 25 percent occupied by families.

Family Unification Vouchers

Single mothers faced with separation from their children because of inadequate housing may qualify for the Family Unification Voucher Program (FUVP). HUD funds the FUVP and administers the program through local housing agencies throughout Pennsylvania. To qualify for FUVP benefits, a public child welfare agency must verify a parent faces the loss of child custody and participants must also qualify for the HCVP. The FUVP offers subsidies for mothers, which they can use to rent or purchase housing. Participants typically pay 30 percent of their income to cover their portion of rent or mortgage payments and the FUVP pays the remainder to the property owner or mortgage servicer.

Homeowners

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency offers multiple assistance programs designed for homeowners. Mothers faced with foreclosure may qualify for the Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, which provides loans to help pay mortgage payments for up to two years. Families that own homes with code violations or health and safety issues may qualify for the Renovate and Repair Loan Program, which provides loans for home improvements.

Homeless Assistance

The Bridge of Hope organization, which has seven affiliates throughout Pennsylvania, helps homeless single mothers secure jobs and obtain permanent housing for their families. Homeless families and households faced with imminent homelessness can receive rent assistance or money to pay move-in costs through the Homeless Assistance Program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. Catholic Charities USA operates eight agencies in Pennsylvania and provides emergency shelters and traditional housing for homeless families.

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