For low income families, making ends meet can be difficult at time. Just when you feel like you may be doing alright, an unexpected expense like car repairs or medical bills can wipe out any progress you’ve made. Fortunately, low-income families have options available when they are experiencing a financial hardship. One of these options is grant money.
Grants are free one time gifts that are available to certain individuals. Originally grants were only available to organizations. They can be found at the local, state or federal level. Grants can also be found through corporations and non profits. Grants can help low income families with things like living expenses, job opportunities, insurance, child car, home energy costs, education and scholarships, tax preparation and much more! Grants are typically created to encourage a specific activity and may have limitations or requirements that determine funding eligibility.
Types of Grants
There are many types of grants available! We are going to look at some of the most popular types of grants available for individuals.
Home Ownership Grants – Home ownership grants are provided by organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. Funds for home ownership grants are provide in conjunction with the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program, known as SHOP. Grants provided by SHOP are not allowed to exceed $15,000 per home. In addition the organization requires potential homeowners to invest manual labor into the building of their home. The goal of SHOP grants is to allow individuals who may not have otherwise been able to purchase a home, enter into home ownership.
Grants for Women – Grants for women are available to help women in a variety of positions. These grants are typical for business purposes to help offset the sometimes unjust system in the workplace. To find more information regarding grants for women visit grantsforwomen.org.
Grants for Minorities – Government money is available for minorities who are interested in being entrepreneurs, business owners, those who are wanting to go to school, own a home, and who may meet other requirements. Money is available for African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, American Indians, and any other minority group.
Education Grants – Education grants are for individuals who plan on attending college. These grants cover education related expenses like tuition and books. Education grants have income restrictions, but are not based on your credit score. To find out more information about education grants visit fafsa.gov. The most common grant related to education is the Federal Pell Grant.
Grants for the Disabled – There are many grants available for those with disabilities. The goal is to provide individuals who are disabled, but capable of living on their own, with the means to do so. With the grant money provided, disabled individuals can construct ramps onto their homes, install handicapped doorways, and make other necessary home renovations. In addition to home repairs some federal grant money can pay for medical assistance programs like home nurses.
Home Repair Grants – Individuals, who may not be able to obtain a home equity loan, may qualify for a home repair grant. These grants are available to help with home repairs that will make a house safe, or improve its energy efficiency. Types of home repairs may include upgrading electrical wiring, replacing a septic tank, or installing storm windows. The U.S. Department of Agriculture works in conjunction with programs like the Rural Repair and Rehabilitation Loans and Grants program to provide individuals with home repair grants. Local state and city offices may also offer similar types of home repairs.
Grants for Senior Citizens – There are many types of grants out there to assist senior citizens with housing costs, home repairs, and other living expenses. One of these organizations is The AARP. The AARP foundation is striving to work towards a country where no elderly person is living in poverty. One way they are reaching this goal is through grants. Their grants are used to serve those over the age of 50. To learn more about AARP grants visit aarp.org.
How Do I Find Grants?
There are many different types of grants available. A quick Google search related to the grant topic you are interested in applying for (i.e.: grants for women) will bring up numerous links. You can also visit the sites listed above related to the individual grants that you are interested in.
The key in finding grants is to search for the right type of grant. With thousands of grants available pertaining to many different specific situations, it is important to find the RIGHT grant for your situation.
Applying for Grants
Step 1 – Choose Your Grant – To begin applying for grants you must first find the grant that fits your circumstances and addresses your specific needs.
Step 2 – Gather Required Documents – You will typically need to gather certain documents and information needed for the application. You will want your W2’s, bank statements, paycheck stubs, expense documentations, proof of residence, social security numbers and other needed information.
The reason for this information is to prove that you have a need for the grant based on economic hardship. The criteria required for each grant will vary.
Step 3 – Fill Out Application – While filling out your application it is important to fill it out correctly. Take the time to proofread your application, and make sure it is free of grammar and spelling errors. You will also want to make sure all information is accurate. Falsifying information is illegal and may have consequences.
Step 4 – Submit Your Grant Application – After you have completed your application, the next step is to submit and wait for a response. Many grants require you to submit your grant via mail, while others may be submitted electronically. Follow the steps in your grant application. The waiting period will vary from grant to grant.
I Was Approved — Now What?
Once you are approved for your grant it is important to know what you can and cannot use the money for. Follow all rules set forth by the company giving you the grant. In addition to following all the rules, you may want to find out whether or not you are required to claim the grant money as taxable income.
With billions of grant dollars available worldwide, the question may be asked, “why NOT apply for a grant?” If you are am individual who meets the qualifications, by all means APPLY for the grant.
There are grants available for just about anything, and these grants can help you obtain home repairs, an education, home buying assistance and much more. The only thing standing in your way is finding the grant that meets your needs! So, consider beginning that search today!