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Help for single mothers in Memphis

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If you are a single mother living in Memphis and need help paying bills and meeting basic expenses, there are lots of options for getting the help you need.

Cash Assistance for single mothers

Shelby County Department of Human Services (DHS) has four offices in the Memphis area. Tennessee’s version of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) is called Families First, and can provide cash assistance to qualifying families. The county offices can help you apply for such benefits. Shelby County Community Services Agency can offer immediate single mother assistance in the short-term to pay bills, as well as provide resources and tools for longer-term success.

Food assistance for single mothers

Shelby County Community Services Agency gives out millions of dollars of free food to needy families through its CSBG Family Support/Self-Sufficiency program. Needy families can also enroll into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is what used to be called food stamps. For a listing of half a dozen different food banks and soup kitchens in Memphis, see FoodPantries.org. A group called Suntopia lists 118 food pantires in the Memphis area.

++ Popular grants for single mothers

Help with Shelter & Housing for single moms

Shelby County Community Services Agency has a Comprehensive Emergency Assistance Program  (CEAP) that can provide rent or mortgage assistance. Qualifying individuals and families could receive up to $1,000 towards a deposit or first month’s rent. United Housing Inc. (UHI) has a Down Payment Assistance program to help people buy homes. Wright Investment Properties works with Memphis Union Mission, a charity that serves the homeless, in offering a transitional house for men called the Wright Transitional House that enables men who were formerly homeless to become self-sufficient members of the community. The Memphis Housing Authority helps people apply for low-income and/or subsidized housing. There are a number of rent-assisted public housing units and apartments in Shelby County. A decent list of homeless shelters in Memphis can be found at HomelessShelterDirectory.

Single mother Help with Energy and Utilities

The Plus-1 program is administered by the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) to pay utility services for people in need. The funding comes from Memphis Light, Gas and Water customers through one-time donations or by adding a dollar or more to their utility bill each month. The Shelby County Community Services Agency is the place to go for The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to get help with heating bills in the winter and cooling bills in the summer.

Telephone and Internet Bills assistance for single mothers

NCTC’s Lifeline Service can help you pay your telephone bill if you’re already receiving support from other assistance program. There is also a CenturyLink Lifeline service.

Childcare benefits for single mothers

Shelby County Department of Human Services (DHS) runs a Smart Steps Child Care Payment Assistance program that provides child care assistance to working families and individuals pursuing post-secondary educational goals. Qualifying families should also consider putting their kids in into the Shelby County Head Start for children up to age 5.

Help with Medical and Dental Care

The Shelby County Ryan White Part A Program is for patients with HIV/AIDs who need assistance. The biggest faith-based health clinic in the country is in Memphis, and it’s called

The Church Health Center Clinic, providing free and reduced cost medical care. There are also other sliding-scale options, including the Guthrie Center – North Memphis Healthloop Clinic; Harbor of Health – Primary Care and Walk-In Clinic; Hickory Hill Public Health Clinic; and Catholic Charities of West TN (cash grants for medications). The Shelby County website also has a list of clinics.

Help with Legal Matters

Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) provides low-cost or free legal advice to single mothers and representation in non-criminal matters.

Help with Financial Counseling

United Housing Inc. (focused on avoiding eviction/foreclosure)

ClearPoint Financial Solutions

Confluent Strategies

Help for single moms from Other Groups

There are lots of groups in Memphis that provide all kinds of services related to many of the areas mention above, including the following:

Salvation Army

United Methodist Neighborhood Centers of Memphis

The Arc Mid-South

Memphis Catholic Charities

Neighborhood Christian Center

Millington Crisis Center Ministry

Shelby County CSA

Society of St Vincent DePaul

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