African American grants and assistance programs.

With the challenging economy, and with the African-American jobless rate still at elevated levels, the federal government has created additional grants as well as other financial assistance programs. Some of this was a carry over from President Obama, and other programs are continuing to be added or evolve. The official White House budget will often get a review done by the various board members of the Black Leadership Forum. Together they try to come up with resources that will give African-American families the assistance and opportunities that they need to succeed over the long term.

The budget document was called “Expanding Opportunities for African-American Families”. It was created by and issued from the White House Office of Public Engagement. There are over 30 different areas and programs that may receive targeted assistance or some form of grants. The overall goal is to boost the economy and quality of life for the millions of disadvantaged people across the nation, including African-Americans.

As noted, the jobless rate for African Americans is almost always higher than the general population. Whether the economy is weak or strong that tends to hold true. The current unemployment rate for African Americans is generally  the highest of any major racial group in America. That rate also does not include the number that are working part time but would like a full time position.

The federal government’s latest budget puts a tremendous focus on job creation for all American families, including blacks. The program, much of which was encouraged by President Obama, will take the necessary steps to help jump start job creation, and it will work to strengthen the economic security and long term self-sufficiency of American families.





Information on grants and assistance programs

Below you will find highlights and descriptions of some of the short-term grants as well as other financial assistance programs that are now available. These are all part of the initiatives that were created as part of the budget proposals. The president as well as the federal government is making the tough choices that need to be made to put our Nation back on the path to fiscal responsibility and long term job creation. These programs can also provide short term relief for paying everyday bills. Learn more about how to access the programs, and where to sign up for the grants.

Student Loan Debt: There will be additional resources available to help graduates who are overburdened with student loans as well as other forms of debt that may be the result of their education. The Obama Administration worked to strengthen income-based repayment plans for student loans. This will be accomplished by reducing the monthly payments that need to be made by the student, both before and after they graduate.

It will also be shortening the repayment period so that overburdened borrowers will pay at most only 10 percent of their discretionary income towards repaying their student loans and other education bills. Then They can also have their remaining debt forgiven after 20 years.

Another big improvement in the program is that those African American and other students who enter public service after graduation will have their student debt forgiven after 10 years. Additional funding will also be provided for low-cost Perkins student loans and grants. There are many resources available, and find other ways to get help with student loans.

Unemployment Aid: With the African American unemployment rate even higher than the national average, the fact is that we need more jobs. There will be additional help provided for those who have been most affected by the recession. Much of this will be offered in the form of cash grants and it will help people pay some of the bills they incur on a monthly basis.





For example, there will be an extension of emergency assistance and grants that are available to seniors and families with children, COBRA tax credits, Unemployment Insurance benefits, and additional funds as well as relief to states and localities so they can expand their resources. Find a detailed list of public assistance programs.

Housing Assistance and Protect Families from Mortgage Fraud: There will be an tens of millions of dollars provided to the federal government HUD agency that will be used to support foreclosure prevention and also homeownership through Housing Counseling. So it addresses retention and home buying. Millions of Americans have lost their homes to a foreclosure, and the crisis has also hit black Americans very hard.

But the housing aid doesn’t stop there. Million of dollars more will be available to stop mortgage fraud. The Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation’s (NRC) grant as well as training programs will receive over $200 million, most of which will be used for paying for foreclosure counseling and prevention. Find additional ways to get mortgage help.

Support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities: The federal government proposes hundreds of millions of dollars for this need. In general the amount allocated continues to increase each and every year  over recent levels. The grants will be used to provide additional resources and support for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). This includes Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This should allow more minority students to receive a college education. Find free scholarship grant resources.

Additional Help for Child Care Costs: The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for middle-class families is available to African Americans as well that meet income criteria. This is per information shared to the Black Leadership Forum. It will increase the middle class tax credit rate from 20 percent to 35 percent of child care expenses. In addition, almost all families making under $115,000 a year would see a larger credit on their tax returns.

The federal government budget also calls for an additional $990 million for the Head Start program as well as the Early Head Start program, which will allow them to continue to serve an additional 65,000 children and families funded in ARRA. Many free day care vouchers are also available, and find how to get help with child care costs.




Project-Based Rental Assistance Program: Almost 10 billion will be provided for the federal government run Project-Based Rental Assistance program. This resource helps all Americans, including minorities and African Americans, find new places to live. Or the funds can also be used to  help them stay in their homes or apartments.

This investment will help low and moderate income households to obtain or keep decent, safe and sanitary housing. It will stop an eviction, help them pay energy bills, or help the homeless find a place to live. Find additional programs that offer help with rent.

Increase Pell Grants: The American Recovery Act, better known as the stimulus plan, and the past years appropriations bill increased the maximum Pell Grant that can be awarded by more than $600 for a total award of $5,350. The new budget from the federal government, which was also put into motion by President Obama, proposes to make that increase permanent and puts the grant program on a path to grow faster than inflation every year. This will have in effect the result of increasing the maximum grant by $1,000 and also expanding eligibility for the program.

Housing Choice Voucher Program: Additional funds to help more than two million extremely low income families pay their rent will be provided. It will provide them with rental assistance, which will allow individuals and families to live in decent housing in neighborhoods of their choice. Big beneficiaries of the Housing Choice grant Program include African Americans and other minorities, as they have been hit hard by the housing crisis as well as deceptive lending practices by banks. More on HUD housing programs.

Fund to Prevent Hunger and Improve Nutrition: The recent budget provides over $8 billion for discretionary nutrition as well as lower income food assistance programs. The federal government funding supports over 10 million low and moderate income participants who are in the WIC program. This is after a service that is critical to the ongoing health and nutrition of pregnant women, new mothers, and their infants.

General Assistance from the Community Development Block Grant Program: The proposed federal budget provides almost $5 billion for the Community Development Fund. This is an assistance program that is administered by your local community action agency. These non-profits are located in most counties, and Click here to find a listing of financial help programs as well as to get more information on community action agencies as well as other local charities.





There are also other community action based government programs for African Americans. You will usually need to apply for assistance. If you are qualified they have access to various grant programs that can be used to help pay bills.

Where to sign up for assistance and grants

Since many of these are government programs, the best place to turn to for more information or to sign up is your local community action agency or your local government office, such as department of human services. Find your local community action agency. They have programs for low and moderate income families, African Americans, the elderly, the disabled, and others.

Some of these programs they will administer themselves. However, even if they do not run the program, they will almost always be able to refer you to the correct organization to apply to.


By Jon McNamara

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