Low-Income Families

Like most things nowadays, moving is expensive. A local move can cost $300 to $1,500, and the cost of a long-distance move can range from $2,500 to $5,000 and up. And this doesn’t consider the effects of the labor shortage, which are driving costs up even further.

But with the price of nearly everything going way up, finding the funds needed to cover a move can be challenging. Even if you decide to move everything or some items yourself, you still have to plan for packing and transportation costs.

Fortunately, there are resources to help. If you have to move but are currently in a tough place financially, here are some moving assistance organizations and programs you might consider looking into. Some specifically target low-income movers, while others are open to a larger group.

Government Programs

Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG)

The ESG program is funded by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Through the ESG, the government allocates funds to state agencies and other organizations that help reduce homelessness. The ESG program activities include street outreach, emergency shelters, housing referrals, and rental assistance. 

Because the ESG program is administered at the state level, the application process will depend on the state where you reside. Visit your state’s official department of commerce website and search ESG to find your state’s application process and eligibility requirements.

Rural Housing Service

The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers the Rural Housing Service, which provides grants and loans to individuals and families in rural parts of the country. These may be applied to moving costs. The service also partners with nonprofit organizations to provide relocation assistance.

You must apply for a loan or grant in person at a local agency office. The application process depends on your situation and the number of people in your household.

Veterans Affairs Relocation Assistance Program

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers transition assistance, including relocation assistance, to service members who are leaving the military. The VA tries to determine the best relocation plan for each situation. Contact va.gov or your local VA office for more information. 

In addition, many commercial moving companies offer discounts for service members, veterans, and their families. If you qualify, ask about veterans discounts when you contact moving companies or consult their websites. 

Federal Relocation Assistance Program

The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) provides funding through the Federal Relocation Assistance Program to those whose home was destroyed. If you had to move because your home was in a presidentially declared disaster area, you can get moving assistance, childcare needs, medical expenses, home repairs and replacement, cleanup, emergency shelter, and temporary housing when related to the disaster. When you apply for funds, a FEMA representative will inspect your home to determine the extent of the damage. 

To apply, visit disasterassistance.gov and enter your city and zip code to see if your area has been declared qualified for assistance. You’ll need to identify the declared disaster and list the damage to your home. Keep all receipts and paperwork as proof. Once you create an account, you can check your status and upload the documents FEMA will ask for. 

You can also call FEMA at (800) 621-3362. or use the FEMA mobile app. The app can provide weather alerts and enable you to apply for assistance. 

Private Programs


211 is not a program in itself. Instead, it is a free hotline phone number and website that refer you to the resources you need and qualify for. The United Way supports this hotline, which focuses on helping you find organizations that assist with moving costs and provide other low-income moving assistance programs.

If you’re looking for assistance with moving- or housing-related expenses, the hotline’s trained operators can help you determine what type of support may be available and what next steps you’ll need to take. 

Anyone can call 211 or visit the website. However, different support services will have different qualifications, which the 211 hotline operator can help you evaluate. 

Catholic Charities USA

Catholic Charities USA consists of 160 Catholic charities in the United States that provide grants and financial programs for low-income individuals. Catholic Charities USA runs private programs and partners with other organizations that provide resources and grants. 

To find out more, visit catholiccharitiesusa.org and search for an agency in your area, state, or county that can provide for your financial needs. Most Catholic charity organizations offer assistance to low-income families.

Salvation Army 

One of the country’s largest and best-known nonprofit organizations, The Salvation Army provides short-term financial resources to needy families. Its Housing Now program offers rental and housing assistance to low-income families.

To apply, find a Salvation Army center near you that offers moving assistance. Set up an appointment at that center to complete the application process.  


The YWCA offers financial moving assistance for low-income individuals, especially for women are buying a home. To apply for financial moving assistance, you must visit a YWCA office. Visit ywca.org and search for an office near your location, and from there, you’ll be able to navigate to the office’s website to view the housing resources available to you.  

Housing Industry Foundation

The Housing Industry Foundation offers low-income families and individuals financial assistance through its Housing Emergency Fund. The foundation accepts applications from private individuals and works with partner agencies to provide additional financial assistance. To apply for a Housing Emergency Fund grant, visit www.hifinfo.org/programs/emergency-housing-fund/. 

Modest Needs

Modest Needs was founded in 2002 to provide short-term financial assistance for families at or near the poverty line or suffering from a temporary crisis. It offers financial assistance grants that can be applied to the cost of moving supplies, trucks, or other expenditures.

Individuals at or just above the poverty line can apply for grants by showing documentation of their current financial status. Individuals or families who need immediate financial assistance for an emergency move can also apply.

To apply, visit the website at modestneeds.org, create an account, and complete the application form. Read through the eligibility criteria to ensure you qualify before applying. 

In addition to these programs, many states offer assistance programs. For example, the Texas Department of Transportation provides relocation assistance to individuals and families displaced by state transportation programs. Visit your state government’s website to find out about relocation assistance that might be available to you.

We hope you found this post, 10 Helpful Resources for Low-Income Families on the Move, useful. Be sure to check out our post Five Tips For Moving on a Tight Budget, for more great information.

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