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BIG UPDATES: $500/Month Programs, Cash Grants, Housing Help, & More!

BIG UPDATES: $500/Month Programs, Cash Grants, Housing Help, & More!

Welcome to our weekly resource roundup! We’re here to share important news about help available for people with low income all over the country. It can be hard to find out about all the different kinds of support out there, so we make it easier by putting everything in one place.

This week, we’re talking about new chances to get money help, ways to save on housing, and programs for free activities for kids and families. Whether you need this info for yourself or to help others, our update has all you need to know. Let’s see what’s new this week!

Nationwide Low Income News

From the battle over guaranteed income programs to exciting new freebies, we’ve got tons of nationwide low income program updates this week!

Some Lawmakers Fight to End Guaranteed Income Programs

Lawmakers in five states are fighting to stop guaranteed income programs in their tracks. In the last year, legislators in states like Arizona, Iowa, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin have proposed new bills that would completely ban these programs in their respective states.

Although these lawmakers live in distinctly different areas, their concerns are generally the same. They are worried that these programs discourage work, cost too much money, or make people too dependent on welfare programs.

Nevertheless, several major cities that have introduced guaranteed income programs have seen overwhelmingly positive results. Participants often use the money for housing, groceries and medical care. Many families report being able to move out of shelters and into stable apartments.

Kids Bowl Free Registration is Open

If you’ve got children in your household, it’s time to sign up for Kids Bowl Free! This incredible program allows children to enjoy free bowling throughout the summer. It’s one of my family’s favorite programs!

There are over 1,500 bowling centers that participate in this program. Each one can set their own age limits and rules, so you’ll need to register for a Kids Bowl Free account and then browse the bowling centers near you to find the right choice for your family.

Teach Music Week is Coming Soon

Teach Music Week will celebrate its 10th year between March 18 and March 24. During this week, free music lessons will be available from over 1,200 locations around the world.

Local musicians, music schools, music stores, and other organizations participate in this event. For example, some Guitar Center locations are offering free music lessons during this time. To find a participating location near you, use the search tool on the Teach Music Week website.

USDA Reduces Interest Rates for Low Income Buyers

The USDA has announced that interest rates have been reduced for their low income Single Family Housing (SFH) loan programs. The interest rates are now between 4.5% and 5%, depending on which program you choose to participate in.

If you’ve wanted to buy your own home, be sure to look into the Section 502 Direct Loan Program. In addition to the new low interest rate of 4.5%, this program also offers down payment assistance and other benefits that can make it easier for low income Americans to buy their own homes.

LIHWAP & ACP Extensions Proposed

The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) Establishment Act by US Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) would make the LIHWAP program permanent. This program was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic to help low income people pay their water bills.

Meanwhile, it’s also important to note that Congress is expected to make a decision about the future of the Affordable Connectivity Program by March 22. That’s the deadline they’ve set to pass the FCC funding bill.

Claim Your Settlement Checks

This week offers fresh chances to obtain financial restitution for those affected by the actions of large companies. Keep an eye on looming deadlines.

If you’ve bought specific products or engaged with particular services, you could qualify for monetary compensation. Check out the latest class action settlements today before it’s too late!

Open Settlements
CafePress Data Breach
If your Social Security number was compromised in the 2019 CafePress data breach, you may be entitled to compensation. Apply by March 10.
Knix Underwear – $15.90 est.
If you bought any Knix or KnixTeen leakproof or super leakproof underwear, tights, swimwear, or reusable pads between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2022, you may qualify for this settlement, provided you have proof of purchase. Apply by March 11.
Wendy’s Biometric Privacy Settlement (Illinois Only) – $575
If you were employed at a corporate Wendy’s location in Illinois and used a fingerprint scanner without providing written informed consent, you might be eligible for approximately $575 in compensation due to alleged unauthorized biometric data collection. Apply by March 13.
Fabuloso Bacterial Contamination Settlement
If you bought at least one eligible Fabuloso product between December 14, 2022, and November 14, 2023, you might be entitled to a cash settlement from this class action, receiving a refund for up to two products without proof, or up to five with proof of purchase, and potentially a full refund for all verified affected items. Apply by March 13.
Eye Care Leaders Data Breach
If you received eye care from a provider using ECL and were impacted by a data breach, you might be eligible for a settlement that includes a cash payment and up to $5,000 in breach-related cost reimbursement. Apply by March 14.
Waste Management Data Breach – $750
If you were impacted by the Waste Management Data Breach in January 2021, where sensitive data was exposed, you might be eligible to receive up to $750 from the settlement. Apply by March 14.
US Fertility Data Breach
If your information was compromised during the US Fertility data breach in November 2020, then you may be eligible for part of this settlement. Apply by March 19.

Remember, these opportunities won’t last forever. If you’re looking for more like these, dive into our detailed guide to upcoming class action settlements, filled with claims ready for your action.

Additionally, to possibly secure greater compensation, think about quickly filing a tort claim. Such claims provide a way to recoup losses from any wrongs or damages suffered. Our partner, Injury Claims, is prepared to assist you. Here’s a summary of some cases they’re currently managing:

Open Cases
Chemical Hair Straighteners
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with cancer or a serious illness after using chemical-based hair straighteners or relaxing products, you may be eligible for significant compensation. Get the details.
Social Security Disability Claims
If a disability is preventing you from working, you could be eligible for up to $3,822 per month in Social Security Disability Insurance. Get help filing your claim now!
Other Open Cases
Legal actions are underway for people impacted by products such as RoundUp, Talcum Powder, Infant Formula (NEC), chemical hair relaxers, various herbicides, PFAS Chemicals, and hernia mesh, Zantac, Tylenol, among others. Get the details.

Unlock New Opportunities with Skip

Have you thought about launching your own business or elevating your existing one to the next level? You might qualify for grants designed to ignite your aspirations.

Our partner, Skip, provides an array of grants specifically crafted to assist entrepreneurs in starting or expanding their ventures. Securing one of these grants could be crucial in overcoming financial obstacles, underscoring the importance of investigating these available options!

Open Cases
AI Innovation Grant – $10,000
US-based entrepreneurs and small business owners can apply for a $10,000 AI Innovation Grant. You can apply whether you already use AI or haven’t started yet. Apply by March 15.
March Skip Grants – $1,000
Skip is awarding $1,000 grants to U.S.-based small business owners and entrepreneurs aged 18 and over. To qualify, applicants must subscribe to Skip’s YouTube channel and have a Skip account with the grant added to their Funding Assistant. Apply by March 25.
Skip $10k Perseverance Grant – $10,000
The Skip $10k Perseverance Grant rewards the resilience of U.S. entrepreneurs and small business owners of any stage or size, aged 18 and above. Apply by March 31.
IFW – Angel City FC Grant – $10,000)
Angel City FC, LLC, in partnership with IFundWomen, is offering entrepreneurs a chance to win a $10k grant and a year of business coaching, aiming to support the launch or growth of small businesses. This opportunity is open to all genders and requires applicants to be legal residents of the United States. Apply by April 8.
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready Grant – $10,000
Verizon, collaborating with Next Street and LISC, is offering $10K grants and online resources to small businesses in Houston, Miami, Phoenix, and Los Angeles to help them succeed in the digital economy. Applicants must register on the Verizon Small Business Digital Ready portal, and complete at least two activities (courses, live coaching, or community events). Apply by April 8.

Local Low Income News

We’ve found local news updates for 44 states! Scroll to your state subheading below for details.


Many Alabama Power customers are struggling with high bills that haven’t been fully explained. ABC 33 News has tried to help find answers, but the Alabama Public Service Commission has stated that a definite solution may not be found for several months. If you received a bill, you are expected to pay it.

The company has said that they will not disconnect users for nonpayment before March 15. If you need help with your utility bills, be sure to reach out to your local Community Action Agency or call 211 for assistance. You can also reach out to Alabama Power directly to set up a payment plan to avoid disconnection.


Alaska has been ranked by WalletHub as the best state in the US for low income earners. This decision was largely based on the effective tax burden that the state places on households at different income brackets.


Arizona has announced a massive partnership with RIP Medical Debt. The state plans to use COVID relief funds to purchase approximately $2 billion in medical debt owed by low income Arizonans.

Once purchased, the debt will be entirely forgiven. This initiative is expected to relieve debt for up to one million Arizona residents who earn 400% of the Federal Poverty Level or less.


Although many advocates have pushed for the state to expand Medicaid to 12 months postpartum, Governor Huckabee has instead created a committee to design a comprehensive health plan for the state. The goal is to coordinate maternal care and ensure that pregnant Arkansans have access to care before, during and after their pregnancy using programs that already exist.


The USDA has set up a special program for people with low income who were hit by the big storms and power outages on January 21, 2024. If you were affected by the storm, live or work in the disaster area, and fit the other rules, you could get a special SNAP payment. This payment will be as much as the most anyone can get for their family size each month. You can use this money just like regular SNAP benefits. But, you need to sign up quickly between March 11 and March 15.

Also, if you’re already getting SNAP benefits and you lost food bought with SNAP due to the disaster, you can ask to get those benefits back. This is available for people in 121 zip codes across 27 counties, according to the latest news from the USDA. Remember, you must report your food loss within 10 days.

Meanwhile, Fresno has announced a new guaranteed income program! Low income families in southwest Fresno and Huron may be able to receive a monthly $500 payment for an entire year through this new program.

In order to qualify, you must have at least one child under the age of five in your household. Unborn babies also count, so you may qualify if you are pregnant as well. You must live in either the 93706 or 93234 zip code and have an income that is not more than 80% of the area median income.

This program will be administered by the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, so you’ll need to contact the Fresno EOC for details about how to apply. The application period is expected to begin March 15 and run until May 15. After that, winners will be selected through a random lottery system.

Don’t miss out on these events:


Although Colorado’s new preschool initiative is serving more families than before, it is leaving a lot of low income families out. There are fewer low income children attending full-day preschool than there were before the program launched. That’s because the state reduced the number of seats available for the most at-risk kids this year. According to the Colorado Sun, some budget writers are concerned abut the shift in who is benefiting from this program.

Don’t miss out on these events:


Towns around Connecticut have received millions of dollars to help renovate homes for low income renters. In areas like Windsor, funding is available to help with heating and cooling repairs, roof replacements, and energy efficiency upgrades.


Wilmington is currently accepting registrations for the city’s home repair program. This program can provide up to $10,000 toward eligible home repair costs. Eligible home repairs include roof replacement, HVAC repair, window and door replacement, electric repairs, plumbing services, masonry repairs, structural repairs, handicap accessibility modifications and more.

You can apply online or by calling 311. Applications will be accepted until March 15. On March 19, a televised lottery drawing will be held to select 88 participants.


In Jacksonville, low income families in the Eastside may be able to get help with weatherization services thanks to a new grant from the Department of Energy. This program is expected to help 110 households.

Meanwhile, livestock owners in Florida can receive a one-time free soil health test from the Soil Health Laboratory at the University of Florida. You can request a test online.

Don’t miss out on these events:


In Macon, the Union Baptist Church is collecting new and gently used prom dresses for low income students. There will be a special giveaway event that will also offer free limo rides, shopping sprees and more. The event will take place at the Union Baptist Church on March 16 between 12pm and 3pm.

Don’t miss out on these events:


A study by the University of Hawaii discovered that rules and regulations are making condos more expensive in the state. These rules cover things like how many parking spots are needed, waiting a long time (about 400 days on average) to get building permits, and other costs.

They found that these rules are responsible for 58% of the average cost of a home. That’s about $387,000 on average. In comparison, building the home accounts for 41% of the price, and the land only for 1.4%.

The researchers suggest that the state needs more apartment buildings and that making these rules less strict could help make homes more affordable.


The Idaho Workforce Development Council needs more people to provide child care because the state is short by about 20,000 places for kids. They’re giving out money to encourage people to start new child care spots. If you can look after up to 12 kids, you could get up to $15,000 for each spot you create. This money can help pay for things like starting up, running costs, supplies, learning materials, and paying staff. But, you have to apply before April 1st.

Don’t miss out on these events:


Illinois recently ranked as the worst state for low income earners, according to a new WalletHub survey. The same survey found that Illinois was the third-worst state for middle-income Americans and the sixth-worst state for wealthy Americans. According to the study, that’s because the state’s regressive tax structure.

Don’t miss out on these events:


Indiana University South Bend is hosting workshops on Thursday evenings to help low income families connect with additional resources. The theme changes each week. Some upcoming themes include help for families with disabilities, help with college funding, and strategic planning for middle schoolers.

Don’t miss these deadlines:


Two new affordable homes are ready to buy in Cedar Rapids! These homes are priced at $224,500, which is less than it cost to build them. Buyers are expected to get up to $50,000 in subsidies, which will help reduce the overall purchase price as well.

In order to qualify, you must have an income that is 80% or less of the Area Median Income. Through various loan opportunities, buyers should be able to benefit from reduced down payments and other forms of assistance as well.

If you’re interested in buying one of these homes, visit the Matthew 25 website for details.

Don’t miss out on these events:


Governor Kelly is once again seeking support to expand Medicaid in the state. Although 68% of registered voters support the expansion, the state legislature has repeatedly refused to pass it. If you live in the state and would like to see Medicaid expanded, please contact your state lawmakers to express your support.

Don’t miss out on these events:


In Kentucky, lawmakers have been working on a bill that would stop cities from making rules that require landlords to accept Section 8 housing vouchers. Governor Beshear didn’t agree with the bill and vetoed it, but the state lawmakers didn’t let that stop them. They overrode his veto. Now, this new law will override the rules set by local cities. Landlords in Kentucky can choose not to accept Section 8 vouchers.

Don’t miss out on these events:

  • March 31: LIHEAP deadline


Louisiana lawmakers are pushing for modifications that would reduce what you can buy with SNAP benefits. The new proposal would prohibit SNAP shoppers from purchasing items that contain too much sugar, salt or fat.


Maine is urging low income customers to apply for the utility assistance programs available in the state. Many customers may face disconnection after April 15, when utilities can resume disconnections for nonpayment. If you need help with your utility bills, please call 211 for assistance.


After a brief pause, Maryland’s pretrial home monitoring program is operational again. This program pays for ankle bracelets for low income defendants who can’t afford them. According to state lawmakers, this program helps the state save money and ensures a fair justice system for low income defendants. The program temporarily ran out of funding, but the judiciary was able to find enough money to keep the program going until June 2025.

Don’t forget to register for your free Chromebook as well! Anne Arundel County is still registering people and I believe Montgomery County is, too. Contact your local library for details.


The state has recently expanded the eligibility requirements for the Medicare Savings Program. This program used to be called the MassHealth Senior Buy-In or Buy-In Programs. The expansion means that more people will be eligible. If you’re eligible, you could save up to $3,000 per year!

This program helps pay for Medicare premiums, prescriptions and other healthcare related expenses. In order to qualify, you must be on Medicare and have an income that is 225% of the Federal Poverty Level or less. The state recently removed the asset limit for this program.

Don’t miss out on these events:

March 13: Older Adult Resource Fair in Sherborn MA


If you’re interested in becoming a truck driver, Michigan Works is offering free CDL training! The training takes three weeks. The first week will provide five days of classroom instruction and the next two weeks will be spent on the road learning how to drive.

Classes will begin at South Haven Lake Michigan College very soon. You need to apply with Michigan Works right away if you’re interested.

Meanwhile, Yoga Moves MS is starting a new free yoga class for Parkinson’s patients. The classes will be held on Wednesdays between 11am and 12:15 pm at Shaarey Zedek in Southfield.

Don’t miss out on these events:


Bloomington is expanding its housing programs, including the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program. They offer population-specific vouchers for foster youth, veterans, and others who meet certain criteria. They also have programs designed to help renters become homebuyers and a home improvement program that can provide up to $60,000 for home repairs!

Don’t miss out on these events:


The Mississippi legislature has passed a Medicaid expansion. This bill is now headed to the governor’s desk for approval. It is not clear if the governor will sign it or not.

The bill would allow low income women to get Medicaid earlier in their pregnancy by authorizing a two-month “presumptive eligibility” period. Basically, this would provide two months of coverage while the full application is processed.


Governor Gianforte recently discussed options for affordable housing in Montana. Some of the ideas that were considered including allowing homeowners to have multi-family units on the property, reducing regulations for contractors and more. It is not clear if any action will be taken on these proposals.


Nebraska lawmakers are considering a bill that would force the state to be more transparent about how they use TANF funds. The state has held on to $125 million in TANF funds that have not been used. Since the state only gets about $56.6 million per year in that funding, some lawmakers believe that the state is harming Nebraska’s children and families by refusing to spend that money efficiently and effectively.

If you would like to see the state be more transparent and accountable for their use of these funds, please ask your local lawmakers to support this bill.


NV Energy is seeking permission to raise their rates for Northern Nevada customers. The new increases would drive up the basic service charge by $28. The rate would more than double from $16.50 to $44.40 under the new proposal.

Remember, if you are struggling to afford your utilities, there are places you can go for help. Call your local Community Action Agency for guidance.

Don’t miss out on these events:

New Hampshire

New Hampshire residents who receive SNAP benefits can also receive free job training. This program allows SNAP recipients to take free courses through their community colleges. It also provides help with resume writing, networking and other job skills. In order to be eligible, you must be at least 18 years old and receive SNAP or TANF benefits. You can enroll online.

Don’t miss out on these events:

New Jersey

A new proposal in Trenton would allow homeowners to turn their basements and garages into separate apartments. The hope is that this would make more rental units available at reasonable prices.

Don’t miss out on these events:

New Mexico

Applications are now being accepted for a new low income housing complex in Albuquerque! The old SureStay Hotel has been renovated into affordable apartments called the Los Altos Lofts. The new apartments are small (around 250 square feet) and won’t be ready for move-in until spring, but they are now accepting applications for people who want to live there. You need to pass a background check and meet income limits in order to qualify. Call the leasing department at (505) 548-6054 for details.

New York

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that the state has received a waiver to expand the state’s Essential Plan for affordable health care coverage. Under this waiver, this plan will become available to New Yorkers who earn 250% or less of the Federal Poverty Level. This will make over 100,000 people eligible for health insurance with $0 monthly premiums.

Mayor Adams of New York City has also revealed that the city has almost completely caught up on their paperwork for SNAP and cash assistance. The backlogs are nearly resolved for these programs. According to ABC News, the backlogs have been reduced by 90-97%, leaving only 400 SNAP applications and 1,150 cash applications to be processed.

Meanwhile, Albert Einstein College of Medicine received a historic donation that will allow it to make tuition free forever. The school has said that “no student will have to pay tuition again” as a result of this gift. Since medical students usually graduate with around $200,000 in debt, many students celebrated this announcement.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, Governor Ray Cooper has distributed over $1 million in grants to help expand breakfast offerings at schools across the state. These grants were provided to 42 public school districts and charter schools.

Don’t miss out on these events:


Warren County residents may be able to get help with their energy and water bills from the Warren County Community Services office. They are currently accepting applications until March 31, 2024.

Low income shoppers can now use their WIC benefits at the Gem City Market in Dayton as well.

Don’t miss out on these events:


The state has announced an expansion to the Work Ready Oklahoma program. This program provides job readiness and skills training, in the hope of helping people obtain better and more secure jobs.

Under this expansion, new Work Ready Employment Centers will be built in several new locations across Oklahoma. Some of the new centers will be built in Tulsa, Lawton, Enid, Shawnee, Ardmore, Altus, Durant, Ponca City, Ada and Tahlequah. Each of these locations will offer tailored workshops, job prep services, coaching and other resources.


Oregon Health & Science University has rolled out a new grant program that fully covers tuition for health care workers who want to pursue a masters degree without leaving their local communities. The coursework is mostly online, allowing people to stay while they are while they complete the work.


Pennsylvania has disbursed $20 million to local libraries, workforce centers and recreation centers around the state. This money will be used to provide free WiFi, loaner laptops and other tech resources to low income communities.

Don’t miss out on these events:

Rhode Island

Rhode Island lawmakers are considering two ideas to help people buy homes more easily. One idea is to start a special savings account where you can save money for a down payment without having to pay state taxes on it, as long as you use the money to buy a house. It works similar to those college savings plans.

The second idea is to make big companies pay more taxes if they want to buy single-family homes. If a company with more than $15 million in assets buys a house, they would have to pay extra taxes. Those extra taxes would add up to around $5,000 more for a $400,000 house.

If you would like to see either of these proposals become law, make sure to reach out to your local lawmakers and express your support.

South Dakota

The deadline for the Property Tax Refund Program in Sioux Falls is rapidly approaching. This program provides a refund of up to $500 for eligible taxpayers. You may be eligible if you are disabled or at least 65 years old, meet income limits and other requirements. You must apply by April 1.

Don’t miss out on these events:


Tennessee lawmakers have introduced two new bills that could substantially help low income families in the state. One will help reduce child care costs for low income and middle income families. The second one would offer free school meals to all students in Tennessee. If you support these measures, please reach out to your state lawmakers.

Don’t miss out on these events:


Four new affordable rental homes are coming to Houston! Each home has three bedrooms and at least two bathrooms. One home is even ADA complaint.

These units are built in the Near Northside neighborhood and are set aside for people who earn between 30-80% of the Area Median Income. The properties will be managed by Q10 Property Advisors. They expect to rent them in late spring or early summer, so make sure to follow their organization for updates.


The Utah Food Bank has added two new food banks in San Juan County! These new pantries are intended to serve people who live within the Navajo Nation. The Montezuma Creek Food Pantry should open this week but the second location will take a little longer.


Don’t miss out on these events:


Applications are now open for the Growing Resilience in Tacoma 2.0 program! This guaranteed income program provides $500 per month to 175 households in Tacoma. The payments will continue until June 2025.

In order to be eligible, you must meet these requirements:

  • You must live in a qualifying zip code: 98404, 98405, 98408, 98409, 98418, 98444, or 98445
  • You must be a single head of household with at least one eligible child. An eligible child must be either under 18 years old OR under 22 years old with a disability.
  • Your income must fall between 100% and 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.
  • You must be between 18 and 65 years old.

The GRIT program is administered by the United Way of Pierce County. You can apply online. Only one application per household will be accepted.


In Milwaukee, the Sherman Park Grocery Store scored a $25,000 grant from Spring Bank and the FHL Bank of Chicago. Although some of the money is going to buy new equipment and fund their operations, the store also distributed 100 gift cards directly to their customers! Each gift card was worth $60.

Relief Recap

This week’s roundup has been packed with updates on low income programs across the nation, from efforts to combat the challenges of guaranteed income programs to launching new initiatives like free activities for kids and reduced interest rates for home buyers. If you found these snippets helpful, remember, there’s a lot more where that came from! Check out our other posts or subscribe to our channel for more updates!

This article is the product of a team effort! Multiple authors from the Low Income Relief team have contributed to this post. We have also used AI tools to organize data and refine the writing in accordance with our Responsible AI Use Policy. All articles on our website are reviewed by our founder and resident poverty expert, Nicole Thelin, prior to publication.


Sunday 10th of March 2024

That's great, hope it keeps coming for them, but I'm in Florida, Springhill, and can't find NO help

Hamidreza fattahi

Sunday 10th of March 2024

Hi. I'm disabled and have lots of problems. I have diabetes type 2 and high cholesterols and blood pressure and nerve problems and brain problems and knees problems and hard attacks and get small checks. I have Medicare but I don't have enough money to buy healthy food. Plus I owed the people.


Saturday 9th of March 2024

Thanks For All You Do! I really appreciate it! (Representing: North Carolina)