So you're a single mother in Oklahoma trying to find a decent place to live with your kids. House hunting is stressful enough as it is, but doing it as a single parent on a tight budget in today's competitive housing market? That likely feels downright impossible. Between navigating waiting lists for assisted housing, scraping together a down payment, and fighting off the stigma of being a single mother, finding a good home is an uphill battle.
But don't lose hope. With some determination and resourcefulness, you could find housing for your family. It may take persistence and creativity, but there are programs and communities out there that want to help people like yourself. In this blog post, we're going to explore strategies and options for single moms in Oklahoma to find affordable housing.
Navigating Rental Applications as a Single Mother
When you're a single mom, completing rental applications and signing leases by yourself is intimidating. Some tips:
- Just be upfront that you're a single parent. Any landlord worth renting from will understand your situation. Still, come prepared with pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, references from employers, teachers, doctors, anyone who can vouch for you. Showing you're responsible and self-sufficient will put their mind at ease.
- Do some research on average rent prices in your area so you know if an offer seems too high. Check crime rates and school rankings as well, especially if you have kids. You want to find a safe, affordable place in a good neighborhood.
- Read the full lease carefully before signing. Make sure you understand all terms regarding guests, pets, rent increases, contract length, and your responsibilities. Don't feel pressured to sign right away. Take time to review it or have someone else look it over too. You can even try negotiating parts of the lease, like a shorter initial term in case the place isn't right for you.
- Once you sign the lease, be an ideal tenant. Pay rent on time, follow all rules, keep the place clean and avoid excessive noise or damage. Build a good relationship with your landlord and neighbors. If any issues come up, address them respectfully and promptly. Your goal is to establish a long, mutually beneficial tenancy.
With determination, you're bound to find a great new place to call home. Stay positive, you've got this mama! The perfect rental for your little family is out there waiting. Keep looking and don't get discouraged. When that new lease is signed, you're going to feel so accomplished knowing you navigated it all on your own.
Budgeting for Housing Expenses on a Single Income
Budgeting as a single parent can be challenging, especially when it comes to housing costs. Here are some tips to help you find affordable housing in Oklahoma:
Create a Realistic Budget
The first step is determining how much you can afford to spend on rent and utilities each month. A good rule of thumb is that your housing costs should be no more than 30% of your take-home pay. If your income is on the lower end, aim for no more than 40%. Count your monthly income, then deduct essential expenses like food, transportation, childcare, and debt payments. What’s left is how much you have available for rent and utilities.
Look For Income-based Apartments
Some apartments offer reduced rent for low-income families. Search online for “income-based apartments in Oklahoma” or “Section 8 housing Oklahoma city.” Section 8 vouchers can help subsidize your rent. You may also find apartments with rents based on your income. Private landlords and non-profits like Habitat for Humanity also offer affordable housing options.
Consider a Studio or Small Space
A smaller space means lower rent. A studio apartment or one-bedroom may save you hundreds per month versus a larger two- or three-bedroom. Look for apartments under 600 square feet to maximize your savings. If you need more space, try to find a unit with minimal bedrooms and storage. The smaller the space, the less there is to heat and cool.
Ask About Included Utilities
Some apartments include utilities like heat, water and trash pickup in the rent. This can save you an extra $100-$200 a month. When comparing places, ask specifically what utilities are included. You're also going to want to ask about the average cost of any non-included utilities like electricity to determine the total monthly housing costs.
Find Ways to Lower Bills
Once you're moved in, take steps to lower your utility bills. Utilize fans instead of air conditioning when possible. Turn off lights and electronics when not in use. Turn on the dishwasher or washing machine only when full. Lowering the thermostat a couple degrees in winter or raising it in summer can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs over time. Making your place as energy efficient as possible helps you stay within your budget. If you're still struggling, explore utility assistance programs such as Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
Government Programs For Single Mothers
As a single mother, finding rental assistance is challenging. Don't stress—there're resources available to help. Government-subsidized programs work to make rent more affordable for low-income Oklahoma families. Some options to explore:
Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program
The Section 8 program provides vouchers to subsidize your rent payments. With a housing voucher, you could rent a house or apartment from a private landlord, and the voucher covers a portion of the rent. You then pay the remaining amount, which is capped at 30-40% of your household income. Section 8 vouchers are in demand, so check with your local public housing authority to apply and get on their waiting list.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Once you're settled into a home -- start thinking about food. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, provides nutritional assistance for low-income households. If you're struggling to put food on the table, SNAP is here to help. SNAP provides monthly benefits on an EBT card (like a debit card) that's can be used to purchase most foods at grocery stores and some farmers markets. The benefits are determined based on your household size and income. As a single mother, you and your children may be eligible for SNAP even if you're employed.
Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF)
The Oklahoma Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides temporary financial assistance and employment services for needy families with children. As a single mother, you're likely eligible for TANF benefits like cash assistance or child care assistance. To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or meet certain immigration requirements.
Contact your local or non-profits or social services agencies in your area. Some organizations offer or know of resources for affordable transitional or permanent housing options, as well as other services to help single mothers who're in need. They may know of additional programs and benefits you haven't yet explored.
Single Mothers Could Qualify For a FREE Phone!
If you're reading this blog, you're likely a single mother facing some sort of financial struggle. Don't worry -- it happens all the time. Luckily, EASY Wireless is here to help!
Partnering with programs such as Lifeline & ACP, we're offering FREE phones with data to eligible single mothers. Whether you need to keep in touch with friends & family or you want to just save money on your current phone plan, here's what we're offering:
EASY Wireless Unlimited Plan
- FREE Unlimited Data
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- Choose to Keep Your Number or Get a New One
To start with EASY Wireless, apply online by clicking the below:
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Or you can come to one of the EASY Wireless's retail stores, where our customer service agent will help you apply for your benefits.