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Vermont housing assistance.

Qualified families can get emergency housing and rental assistance in Vermont from one of several programs. Services offered can range from vouchers or cash assistance to pay rent, or assistance in finding affordable and safe apartments or homes to live in. Learn more about the various housing programs below. Or you can dial Vermont State Housing Authority at 802-828-3295 for more information or to apply for help.

The Vermont Family Unification program may be able to help families who face eviction, or assist those that for whom the lack of housing is the leading factor in the threat of imminent separation or that causes the separation of families and their children. The unification program can offer emergency rental and financial assistance in an effort to try to keep families together. The Vermont Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services needs to refer eligible households to the VSHA program. The service may also provide case management, advice, and guidance for families faced with these conditions.

Vermont also offers low income residents access to the federal government funded Section 8 Rental Assistance Program and housing vouchers. The Section 8 Existing program provides housing as well as rental assistance to qualified low income families and individuals so that they can live in affordable homes or apartments of their choice. The voucher program is administered by Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA) as well as local public housing authorities, and the overall funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Aid is prioritized for the elderly, families, low income single people and disabled who live in Vermont. All applicants need to meet income guidelines, and their total household income and assets need to fall within the section 8 income guidelines in order to qualify for this program. There is almost always a waiting list, and after a qualified low income person applies and is determined eligible for emergency housing, they will be placed on a waiting list until funds or cash grants become available to assist them. When funding becomes available, a certificate or voucher is issued to the client that they then use to pay their rent.

The section 8 voucher does provide some flexibility in that it can be used by the family in locating an apartment or house to rent of their choosing. The voucher serves as a written guarantee of state of Vermont to the prospective landlord as well as the tenant that the voucher holder is eligible for participation in the low income housing program. The voucher will also outline the family's obligations under the housing program and it is does have some defined time limits and will establish the period of time the family has to locate new housing.





Clients who participate in the Section 8 Existing Housing Choice Voucher program are able to select their own apartment or home anywhere across the state. However the Vermont State Housing Authority has to have the authority to ensure the unit meets safe and decent housing quality standards and has in place certain rent limitations. After all, many services are meant to protect the renter, as the various housing quality standards help to insure that housing rented under this program is safe and decent.

People with disabilities can get help from the state of Vermont Shelter Plus Care program. It offers a variety of rental assistance to low income homeless people with serious medical conditions, and in particular helps those with some form of disability. Other supportive services, at least equal in value to the rental assistance, must be funded from other sources that the individual has.

The Project-Based Voucher and Moderate Rehabilitation program, which is also run by the VSHA, also offers housing vouchers; however these housing programs are project specific housing rather than open market so individuals are limited in where they can live. So this means that the section 8 housing voucher is tied to the building in Vermont where someone lives, and if the family moves then they must reapply for help with rent under a different program.

The Mainstream Housing program offers and pays for rental assistance for non-elderly disabled families. The main goal is to help disabled families rent affordable private homes or apartments.




By Jon McNamara

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