VERAP will be accepting applications for rental assistance through 12/31/2021 or until the funds are depleted. Additionally, the federal government may extend funding for VERAP through September 30, 2022 if funding is available. Please continue to check this site regularly for updates.

Changes and improvements are coming! Please continue to check this site regularly for updates.

Vermont state housing Authority

Renter Eligibility

Who is eligible for VERAP?

  • Must be obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling in Vermont. 
  • One or more individuals within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • You’re able to demonstrate risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability. 
  • The household has an income at or below 80% of area median income (AMI) Vermont Income Limits. 

What are the benefits?

  • Rent  
  • Back rent (arrears) to April 1, 2020 
  • Utility bills, this includes electric and gas, fuel oil, wood and pellets  

What documentation is needed?

  • 2020 W-2s or Income Tax Form (e.g. 1040).
  • Current pay stubs (last 2 months)
  • Lease or rental agreement or letter of attestation from landlord
  • Eviction notice (If applicable)
  • Unemployment Compensation Benefits letter (if applicable)
  • Documentation for other income sources (Social Security or Disability, Child Support, Alimony, Pension as applicable)
  • Legal Name of your landlord

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

To be eligible, a household must be obligated to pay rent on a residential dwelling in the State of Vermont and meet the criteria below:

  • One or more individuals within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits or experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • One or more individuals within the household can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
  • the household has a household income at or below 80% of Area Median Income. Vermont Income Limits 2021
  • Eligible housing types include:
  • Households occupying a federally subsidized residential or mixed-used property if ERA funds are not applied to costs that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal assistance.
  • Households receiving a monthly federal subsidy and the tenant rent has been adjusted according to changes in income Household, may receive ERA for tenant-owed portion of rent that is not subsidized.
  • People exiting homelessness, provided only that the household has a lease or can demonstrate they have a rental obligation.
  • People leasing up in new location, provided only that the household has a lease or can demonstrate they have a rental obligation.
  • Obligation to pay mobile home lot rent and mobile home rentals.
  • People renting in recovery residence/sober homes as well as renting temporary housing if they relapse and cannot stay in residence, provided only that the household has a lease or can demonstrate an obligation to pay rent.
  • Tenants residing in motels for more than 30 days.
  • Long-term care facilities (rent portion only).

If you are currently participating in one or more of the following Vermont programs, you are not eligible for VERAP. However, you may be eligible for emergency assistance under these programs, please refer to The Agency of Human Services at  https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/reachup/ERA   

  • Reach Up,
  • Reach First,
  • Reach Ahead,
  • Reach Post-Secondary Education Program (PSE)
  • Child-Only households with at least one parent in receipt of SSI.

An eligible household that lives in a federally subsidized residential or mixed-use property may receive ERAP assistance as long as VERAP funds are not applied to costs that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal assistance.  This would include Section 8 housing. If an eligible household receives a monthly federal subsidy (e.g., a Housing Choice Voucher, Public Housing, or Project-Based Rental Assistance) and the tenant rent is adjusted according to changes in income, the renter household may receive VERAP assistance for the tenant-owed portion of rent or utilities that are not subsidized.

Household income at or below 80% of AMI for the county where you reside.

VERAP will use 2020 W2’s or tax filings when determining eligibility for benefits.

    • Household’s total income for calendar year 2020, OR
    • Sufficient confirmation of the household’s monthly income at time of application, annualized.
    • Determination of eligibility is required every 3 months or annually.
  • VERAP will use your 2020 tax filing or current W2’s along with all other sources of income including unemployment, self-employment, social security, pensions, child support, alimony, etc.

All adult members of your household over the age of 18 must provide the following:

  • Current lease signed by the applicant and landlord or sublessor that identifies the unit where the applicant resides and establishes the rental payment amount
  • Other documentation demonstrating obligation to pay rent include:
    • Evidence of amount of rental payment may include bank statements, check stubs, or other documentation that reasonably establishes a pattern of paying rent.
    • Attestation by the landlord who can be identified as the verified owner or management agent of the unit.
    • Other reasonable documentation as defined by the grantee in its policies and procedures.
    • If an applicant can provide satisfactory evidence of residence but is unable to present adequate documentation of amount of rent, applicant can provide written attestation to support the payment of assistance up to a monthly maximum of 100% of the county FMR.
      • Attestation will be provided in the online application attesting that the information is true and accurate with an eSignature at the end of the application process.
      • must include that household has not received and does not anticipate public or private subsidy or is a current recipient of Reach-up, Reach First, Reach Ahead, Reach Post-Secondary Education Program, and Child-Only households with at least one parent in receipt of SSI.

Rent assistance can be provided for 3 months at a time.  

An eligible household member must have a COVID-19 financial hardship as defined below, AND be at risk of homelessness or housing instability.

 Financial hardship categories.

  • Qualified for Unemployment Benefits.
    • “Qualified for” does not require that the household member is “receiving” benefits *OR*
  • One or more of following, due directly or indirectly to COVID-19
    • reduction in income, OR
    • incurred significant costs, OR
    • other financial hardship *AND*
  • Be At-Risk of Homelessness or housing instability due to:
    • Past due rent or utility notice
    • Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions
    • Any other evidence of risk as determined by grantee.

VERAP will rely on “written attestation signed by applicant who has experienced reduction in Household Income.   Applicants will provide a written attestation that one or more members of the household experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs, or experienced other financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

  • Qualified for Unemployment benefits. Applicant must be: 
  • receiving unemployment benefits or provide documentation from last employer, last job, last day worked, or dates received unemployment benefits.
  • Demonstrate risk of homelessness or housing instability. Acceptable documentation is:
  • Past due notice (rent or utility or both) OR
  • Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions defined as:
    • Lack of water / sewer or major plumbing issues confirmed by Town Health Officer.
    • Chipping / peeling paint in residences older than 1976 occupied by a child under the age six, as confirmed by VSHA / Vermont Department of Health / Town Health Officer.
    • Presence of serious mold, as confirmed by the Vermont Department of Health
    • Red-tagged fuel tank confirmed by fuel supplier or Town Health Officer.
    • Weatherization initiatives as recommended by a professional
    • Bedbug eradication for the qualified applicant, as recommended by the Town Health Officer or other qualified individual.
    • Any other necessary repair approved by VSHA / AOA.
  • Rent to income ratio of more than 30% of adjusted income.
  • Other evidence of risk as determined by VERAP.
  • Back rent accrued AFTER April 1, 2020 is eligible provided they were not paid by the Vermont State Housing Authority’s Rental Housing Stabilization Program or another rental subsidy program.
  • For households in subsidized housing, all back rent after April 1, 2020 for tenant-owed portion of the rent may be paid even if rent has not been adjusted for changes in income if the subsidizing owner or agency cannot grant complete retroactive reduction in rent.
  • VERAP may be used for prospective rent at a new unit; there is no requirement regarding the length of tenure in the current unit.
  • Applicants will be required to provide a copy of a lease, or other documentation that they have a rent obligation.
  • Allow Other Expenses Related to Housing payment to prospective landlord to make minor repairs upon signed lease (minimum 1 year).
    • Applicant household must be “at risk of homelessness due to unsafe or unhealthy living conditions.”
  • Current lease showing rental amount (must be provided if available)

OR

  • other documentation demonstrating an obligation to pay rent, such as:
    • Documents establishing a pattern of paying rent.
    • A written attestation by landlord
    • The Owner can attest.
    • For household receiving subsidy, documentation establishing tenant arrears and tenant portion of rent must be provided.
  • Paystubs, W-2’s,
  • All back-rent (arrears) must be documented even if not paid in full.
  • The program may provide assistance to households at-risk of homelessness and exiting homelessness, provided the household has a lease or can demonstrate they have a rental obligation.
  • Includes people leasing up in new location, provided the household has a lease or can demonstrate they have a rental obligation.

Payments to Tenants will only be made if the landlord refuses to cooperate by submitting a required landlord application, either online or in paper format. 

  • If / when a landlord refuses to cooperate
  • Grantee’s vendor will make 3 attempts by phone, text or email over 10 days OR
  • Receive confirmation in writing that the landlord does not want to participate.

The following data elements will be collected with each tenant application.

For Head of Household

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • SSN
  • Gender, Race and Ethnicity
  • Email, Phone, Cell Phone if different
  • Residence Address
  • Amount of rent arrears for each Household
  • Number of months’ rent payment and number of months utility payments
  • Household income (for all adults 18 and over)
    • Legal Business Name of Landlord
    • Number of household members
    • Lease or rental agreement or letter of attestation from landlord
    • Eviction notice (If applicable)

 

For Each Member 18 years or older:

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • SSN
  • Gender, Race and Ethnicity
  • 2020 W-2s orIncome Tax Form (e.g. 1040) or Current pay stubs (last 2 months)
  • Unemployment Compensation Benefits letter (if applicable)
  • Documentation for other income sources (Social Security or Disability, Child Support, Alimony, Pension as applicable)
  • Documentation of At Risk of Housing Stability situation, such as past due rent or utility notice

The following data elements will be collected with each landlord application.

  • Full Name
  • Address, City, State, Zip
  • Tax id number
  • Completed W-9
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Attestation (with eSignature at end of application) that:
    • The rental unit complies with Vermont’s Life Safety Code requirements
    • They will not increase the rent for the number of months receiving benefits.
    • Make reasonable effort to engage in weatherization activities and programs.
    • Owner agrees to notify VERAP and return grant funds if tenant moves from the unit before the end of the benefit period.

VERAP will begin offering assistance on April 5th, 2021.

Please use the interactive VERAP Eligibility Chatbot available on the website to determine initial program eligibility. If eligible, you will be redirected to the application portal where you can submit your application.