There are lots of great things about living in the state of Alaska…friendly people, amazing countryside, nature like you’ll never get to see it anywhere else…but sometimes it can be tough too. Especially if you’re a single mom.
Single moms find it harder to find jobs, as they’ve got to either find child care or work just part time, so getting enough money in to survive isn’t always easy. Single moms can feel isolated in Alaska, where there aren’t so many people, and it’s easy to feel alone and worried about how you’re going to cope, especially if you’re new to the state or town. Alaska’s more remote areas have a fairly high cost of living, and if you’re not near to a major town or city you have the additional worry of fuel costs and bus fares for getting about. Taxis are expensive, and most single moms can’t afford them. What’s more, winters are cold…really cold…and heating the house adequately is essential.
Alaska offers help for single mothers
Stop worrying.. For one thing, the taxes in Alaska are lower than anywhere else in the Sates! And, single moms should know that Alaska has a variety of programs in place to help you in particular. Whether you need help to buy food, to find a job, to find somewhere to live, ways of getting to work or getting the kids to school, help to pay for vital healthcare, or help to look after the kids, Alaska can help you. All you have to do is know where to go to get the assistance that you need.
Below is a list of areas that may concern you, and links to take you to the right places to find aid.
Help with money
Everyone needs money, and many single moms find it is in pretty short supply. There’s not a lot of people want to give it away, and not having enough is a real and ever present worry for single moms. It isn’t common to be given actual cash, but Alaska does have a program in lace that may b able to do just that, at least ‘til you’re on your feet. If you’ve lost your job recently, or you’re in real financial need, try contacting the Alaska Temporary Assistance programme (ATAP). The website http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dpa/programs/atap/ gives details of who might be eligible, how to download the forms to apply for the help, and all the terms and conditions. What’s more, they can help you to locate and obtain financial help from your kids’ dads if necessary.
Help with food
Having enough to eat is a basic need for all of us, and for kids it’s even more important to have decent, healthy and nutritious food on the table. Alaska has a great Family Nutrition Program in place to make sure that you can give your kids what they need so they grow into healthy adults. The program offers advice on what makes a healthy diet for kids, and also for moms who may be pregnant, breastfeeding or who’ve recently given birth.
Low income families…many of whom are single parents, can get food vouchers to spend at local Farmer’s Markets so fresh, healthy produce can be always on the table. Food vouchers can also be supplied to moms with young kids though the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. You might be eligible for food stamps…check your eligibility here: http://hss.state.ak.us/dpa/programs/fstamps/
Help with childcare
Getting help with childcare can be high on the agenda for single moms, because if you’re going to get a job that pays decent money you’re going to need some help looking after the kids. Alaska’s Childcare Assistance Program is here to help. It’s broken down into three phases, known as PASS 1, PASS 2 and PASS 3. PASS stands for Parents Achieving Self Sufficiency. All the information you need to get started is here http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dpa/programs/ccare/parents.htm, so take a look and see exactly what help you’re entitled to.
If you’re a single parent whose child has special needs there could be extra help available too. Again, you can find details from the above link.
If you find that you aren’t eligible for the PASS schemes, the state can still help you to find affordable care for your kids. This link takes you to the YMCA/YWCA site, http://www.ymcaalaska.org/, and there are various options for both home day care and center based day care available in the state.
Help with healthcare
Healthcare is another very real worry for single parents. Denali Kidicare http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dhcs/denalikidcare/default.htm offers insurance for kids of single parents aged under 18, for pregnant and chronically ill women and for low income/one parent families. Then there’s the Alaskan Health and Human Services website too… http://www.hss.state.ak.us/dhcs/.
All the help you need is out there, so don’t wait ‘til you’ve got a problem before you ask.
Help with housing
Home is where the heart is, and it is vital for single moms to feel safe and that they have a home environment that’s good for their kids to grow up in. Alaska offers a variety of programs to ensure that you and your kids have a decent place to live, whatever your circumstances.
There’s a Housing Choice Voucher Program aimed at low income families, helping them find homes in safe neighbourhoods for lower than usual rental payments. The there’s the Alaska Public Housing Centre, specially for single moms, which offer rent subsidies to help you get a safe place to call home. Finally, there’s a more generalized rental assistance program.
For more information see http://www.rentassistance.us/st/alaska, http://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/pha/contacts/states/ak.cfm, http://www.ahfc.state.ak.us/home/homeless_guide.cfm http://www.hud.gov/local/ak/renting/chdos.cfm.
Help with paying for utilities, (heating is much needed in an Alaskan winter!) can be found here. http://hss.state.ak.us/dpa/programs/hap/ Having a home is one thing, but once winter kicks in that home needs to be warm. Heating subsidies are awarded to eligible le families, so make sure you apply in good time.
Help with education
If you’ve got kids, educating them well will be high on your list of priorities. The state of Alaska has several scholarship schemes in place, and there are many other avenues to explore as well in the form of private scholarship schemes. If you’re a single mom in Alaska and you have a child about to start college, here’s what to do,
First, choose the school or college your child wants to apply to, and put that application in in good time. Next, complete the FAFSA application form…you can get that here: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. It’s possible that the school itself has scholarships on offer, so ask. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know!
Maybe it goes without saying, but your child stands a better chance of getting a scholarship if he or she maintains good grades throughout school, so keep up the encouragement to work hard.
There are further possibilities here, so take a look.
- and http://scholarships.com/financial-aid/college-scholarships/scholarships-by-state/alaska-scholarships/emu-national-scholars-program/.
- Of course, it’s not just kids who may need education. Quite a lot of single mothers want to improve their prospects of getting back to work by doing a course of study, so find pout what Alaska can offer you to help with training for a new job or getting more of those vital qualifications. You might be eligible for FAFSA… it isn’t just for the kids!
Help with transportation
Because Alaska covers large areas of territory with long distances between towns, chances are you’re going to need to travel a bit more than you would in other states.
Luckily, Alaska has excellent public transport systems in place. Most Alaskan towns have good bus services in operation, and then there are van share schemes, school buses and community rides…to find out what’s available in your area, and to see which system is most suitable for you, follow this link to Alaska’s public transportation website.
There is a program in place which could be useful…it’s called the Workfare Program. If you have a case worker he or she should be able to put you in touch with someone from the program who can provide you with more information.
It might also be worth joining a single mom’s association in your neighbourhood. Groups of single moms can get together to share a vehicle, or to take it in turns to organise transport where necessary. If nothing else, sharing experiences with other single moms can be helpful.
Being a single mother isn’t easy, but it’s important not to feel that you’re alone. Alaska may have cold weather (the coldest in the union!) but the people are warm hearted and the state cares about its people. Moms are important, single or not, so make sure you know where to go to get the help you’re entitled to.
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