Know your rights as an immigrant mother
“Homelessness is a tragedy for anyone. Being homeless as a new immigrant can be even more challenging.” Immigrant Solo Moms know this already, but the Homelessness Resource Center—which made that statement in a brief designed to equip housing providers with the resources they need to secure housing for new immigrants—has tools to help Solo Moms meet the challenge. The organization offers advice that can help immigrant moms know their rights when it comes to housing assistance.
For example, if you are in one of the following immigrant groups, you are generally eligible for public housing and housing choice vouchers (Section 8) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
- Lawful permanent residents
- Refugees and asylees
- Victims of trafficking and their derivative beneficiaries
- Certain battered women and children who are not lawful permanent residents
- Persons paroled into the country for at least one year
- Persons granted withholding of deportation
- Temporary residents under Immigration Reform and Control Act’s (IRCA) general amnesty or paroled by IRCA into the United States for less than one year
- Cuban-Haitian entrants
- Citizens of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau
(Read “Overview of Immigrant Eligibility for Federal Programs” by Tanya Broder and Jonathan Blazer to learn more.)Immigrant moms should know that even if you do not have legal residence documents, you may qualify for housing benefits through your child. If at least one member of the household is eligible for housing benefits based on immigration status, the family may reside in HUD public housing, but the subsidy will be adjusted to reflect the eligible portion of the family.
Photo credit: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Shutterstock.com
Elisa Martínez, ESME's Resource Guide for Immigration, is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Massachusetts. She’s also a Solo Mom to her larger-than-life son, Justin.
Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.