For single fathers, the government does make grant aid available in the sectors of low income assistance, education, housing, and business.
Grants for single fathers may include college grants, housing grants, new business grants and public benefits (i.e. welfare).
To get these grants though, you need to qualify and you need to apply.
That qualification is typically financial need AND/OR doing something the government is trying to promote such as going to college or starting a new business in a sector the government is trying to encourage.
You will need to apply for such grants and the applications can be extensive. So can the waiting time.
The short of it is that there are real grants available.
But no, it’s not easy to get such grants.
You will need to qualify, you will need to send out an application, and you will need to wait.
If you are counting on getting a pile of free easy money from the government, consider another option because that’s NOT the case in the United States. In European countries like Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, and the UK, yes it is possible to get a wade of money from the government every month in the form of social assistance. In Canada, it’s also possible to get a monthly check from the government if you are in financial need. Not so in the United States. The government is much more tightfisted about giving out money and social assistance.
So forget about getting easy grants for financial assistance here. If you want a grant, it’s only going to be for something specific you are doing like going to college. Or you are going to have to wade through the many pubic assistance programs offered by the state and federal government, most of which offer non-monetary assistance such as food stamps, free lunches for your kids, clothing assistance, child care help, and other service or good based aid. There is very little in the way of ‘cash’ assistance offered by these programs, however.
If you are not scared off yet, then here are a few of the legit grant programs / areas you might be able to get some grant aid in.
I’ve specifically sorted these programs out to pick out the ones that single fathers can apply for. There are MORE programs then listed here, but some of those are for women and don’t include men.
What is a Grant?
A grant, in short, is anything given out with the aim to provide non-repayable assistance. That assistance could be money, services, or goods. For low income persons in the United States, most of the grants you actually can get are related to services and goods through the various public welfare programs. If you are a student, those grants might be money contributed towards your tuition fees at your school or funding for a part time job on campus.
Grant vs Loan
Grants are free money given by the government or a financial institution that does not need to be paid back. In the conventional loans like traditional loans which people get from banks, these banks usually charge a high. The person will have to pay back the principal amount plus the interest amount at the end of the period. Most of the time people find it very difficult to repay loans.
Government grants on the other hand are free money and do not need to be paid back at all. Also, these grants do not charge any. Government grants are available from various sources like state governments, federal institutions, state programs, and so on.
Grants are available from the government, depending on what sort of grant of grant you are applying for. Many people think that there are lot criteria that they have to fulfill in order to get these grants and as a result they don’t apply for the grant.
And those people would be right. You have to jump through a lot of hoops and make a lot of applications and wait a long time before you qualify for grant aid, especially if you are looking at grants outside of the education sector.
With a loan, it’s MUCH easier to actually get the money, provided you have the credit rating and / or the security to back up the loan. Of course, you do have to repay the loan.
Grant vs Scholarship
In the education sector, grants and scholarships are similar, but different. An education grant is given out based on need while scholarships are based on merit. Both scholarships and grants have specific criteria you must qualify for though.
How to Get a Real Grant?
The first step in getting a grant is to go out and apply for one. That means you need to find a grant that a) exists and b) you qualify for.
Finding both a) and b) is not easy. You’ll find a lot of websites that will tell you there’s a lot of free money from the government handed out all the time to individuals. That there is even a government website called grants.gov where you can easily find and apply for grants and get money!
Well, sorry to break your heart, but that’s completely false. Yes there is such a website, but there’s a huge disclaimer saying that such grants are NOT given out to individuals!
So no, the government is not begging to send you free money.
Grants do exist, yes. It’s possible to qualify for one, yes. But it’s also difficult and you need to be doing something the government is trying to encourage. And that requires you to be DOING SOMETHING. That doing something might involve going back to school, becoming a qualified teacher, working in the education field, establishing a non-profit organization that helps socially underprivileged, starting a business in the energy sector, and so on.
The point is that you just don’t get a big fat check just because you need some money, even if you really do need a helping hand.
With that disclaimer out of the way, here are some legit grant areas you might look at.
Welfare Programs / Public Assistance Grants suitable for Single Fathers
The biggest category of actual ‘aid’ you can get are the public assistance programs (also called welfare programs) offered by the federal and state governments. These are, in a way, pubic grants that may include anything from free food, clothing, rental subsidies, education help, child care help, tax credit, and in some cases, a small monthly payment.
For ‘direct’ help from the government, if you are really struggling on a day to day basis to make ends meet as a single dad, look into these programs.
Food Assistance Programs
- NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM (NSLP)
- THE EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (TEFAP)
- SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP)
- LOCAL FOOD BANKS
- TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES (TANF)
- UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
- PAID FAMILY LEAVE
- EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT (EITC)
Child Care Assistance
- CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CCAP)
- MEDICAID: HEALTH INSURANCE FOR THE POOR
- CHILDREN’S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM (CHIP)
- HEAD START / EARLY HEAD START
Education Grants Suitable for Single Fathers
If you get a grant, this is going to be the most realistic grant you are going to get. The average person is not going to qualify for a business grant. Education grants such all the Pell Grant are handed out to anyone who qualifies based on financial need. You will need to apply for federal student aid via the FAFSA.
And you will also need to be attending or enrolled to a college, university, or a qualified vocational trade school to qualify.
But if you do plan on going back to school, Federal Student Aid is the best way to help pay for your education. If you qualify, you might be able to get up to $5000 a year of grant aid applied to your tuition costs.
Federal Grants for Education
- THE PELL GRANT
- THE FEDERAL SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANT
- THE FEDERAL WORK-STUDY PROGRAM
Business Grants Suitable for Single Fathers
These are a lot harder to qualify for. The government has a list of grants at grants.gov, but most of these grants are for foundations, researchers, or businesses. The government does not readily give out grants for individuals. IF you start a small business, have a real business plan, and your business is in a sector the government wants to promote (such as alternative energy), you may be able to find a government grant that allots some money for this.
But for financial assistance grants for the regular person — forget about it.
Housing Grants Suitable for Single Fathers
It may be possible to get a grant for housing projects. Such as some money to upgrade your house to supplement with alternative energy. Or money to help buy a better furnace so you have less of an environmental impact.
Again, these grants are given out to promote specific areas that government wants to improve. What these sorts of grants are NOT is a wade of cash for you to landscape your yard or build a new fence, or fix your roof.
One area you might look at is housing assistance. The government does provide a sort of ‘grant aid’ through the Section 8 Housing program which includes housing vouchers and low income apartments. This program works to make housing affordable for low income households. The government will help pay for your rent through housing vouchers which must be used in designated low income housing projects. This functions a bit like a grant in that you are getting free ‘money’ of sorts from the government in the form of a rent subsidy. But you certainly don’t get free cash from the government here and you must fill out an extensive application. The wait for approval can take a long time as well.
- LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP)
- WEATHERIZATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (WAP)
The Final Word
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I want to keep it real here with so many websites giving out bullshit information about your ability to get free grant money.
Put it this way: if something sounds too good to be true, it IS too good to be true.
No, the government won’t hand you free money. Not without you doing something first.
I’ve listed what I consider the actual ‘real’ grants. But most of these grants offer non-cash assistance: food, clothing, education assistance, job help, and so on. Very few programs give you straight cash.
If you want free grant money just because you need it and you don’t want to do anything for that money, look at expatriating to a European country like Sweden, Norway, or Denmark. Or become a Canadian. There are social welfare programs in these countries that will hand out all sorts of grants to single parents / single dads in need.
Heck, in Sweden, fathers can even get paid leave to help raise their children for a period of time if their wife is having a baby. And in these countries, you can even get a monthly check from the government if you are hard up for cash and can prove it.
Not so in the United States. The government is tightfisted with their social welfare programs. And that includes grants for individuals with financial need.
So it’s a bit of a tough hunt for real grants. Yes, they do exist in those categories I listed above. And do look into those categories IF you you need basic necessities (food, clothing, child care aid), you are starting a business, going to school, or need housing assistance.
Just realize though, it’s not going to be easy to get most grants.