During these difficult times there is new financial assistance available to many people.
Mortgage Assistance Program:
The Mortgage Assistance program can pay up to six months of past due mortgage payments on your home. It is available to all Vermonters who are at least two months past due on mortgage payments, have a COVID related hardship, and meet the income requirements. The application deadline is August 31, 2020. Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) is taking applications for the Vermont COVID Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program.
Help with past-due rent:
For help with past-due rent, Vermonters should apply for the Rental Housing Stabilization Program through the Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA). Tenants and landlords apply for this program together, and there are no income guidelines. VSHA pays landlords directly to bring the tenant’s rent account current. This program will last until December 30, but apply soon because the program is first-come, first-served.
Moving to a more affordable apartment:
If you need to move to a more affordable apartment, and you have found a landlord with an affordable rental unit to move into, you may also be eligible to get help from the Rental Housing Stabilization Program. The program can cover the money needed to move in including first months rent, last months rent and security deposit. It also may cover rent payments through the end of the year. You and your new landlord will need to apply together.
Emergency housing for people who are homeless:
The Department for Children and Families (DCF) Economic Services Division is extending housing supports for homeless households. For more information or to apply, contact the Benefits Service Center at 1-800-479-6151. Follow this link for the program rules.
Additionally, if you are currently staying in a shelter or motel, you can participate in “coordinated entry.” Through coordinated entry, you will be assigned a housing case manager who will help you access subsidies and programs to help you get permanent housing. To learn more about coordinated entry, call 2-1-1. If you worked with your case manager to apply for a subsidy or other program and your application was denied, call Vermont Legal Aid at 1-800-889-2047.
Past due utility bills:
The Department of Public Services (DPS) can help with past due utility bills. DPS will provide assistance for account holders with a past due balance of electric, natural gas, landline telephone service or regulated private water bills (not municipal water). Homes and small businesses are eligible. There are no income guidelines and you don’t have to have a disconnect notice. However, your difficulty paying the bill must be linked to COVID. The funding only covers arrearages after March 1st 2020. Learn more at the public service website.