State News

Half of homeowner pandemic assistance program funding awarded 

The Vermont Homeowner Assistance Program (VHAP) has paid over $22.5 million in grants to assist homeowners impacted by the pandemic. This represents nearly 55% of total program funding available to homeowners.

Administered by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, VHAP launched in January 2022 to assist homeowners who have faced economic hardship brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. The program, funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act, provides grants of up to $30,000 per household towards overdue mortgage payments, utility bills, property taxes, and property association charges. Application assistance and counseling is available through local nonprofit partners.

“We continue to hear that Vermonters are facing challenges with their housing expenses,” remarked VHFA Executive Director Maura Collins. “VHAP remains available to help homeowners find stability and stay in their homes.”

To date VHAP has assisted 4,202 households from across Vermont. Most households receiving grants have low or moderate incomes, with the median household earning $34,393 per year.

“I lost my good paying job and have had to find two jobs to try and get by. This led to falling behind in my utility bills and my mortgage… I cannot even express how grateful I am to this program and the wonderful people who work here. I am now caught up with both my water and electric bills,” Hannah from Grand Isle said.

Currently, about 78% of total VHAP funding has been requested or paid out, although funds that have been applied for may become available again as applications are processed, assistance amounts are reviewed and adjusted, and some applications are denied or withdrawn. VHAP is expected to continue to accept applications on behalf of eligible homeowners through the spring of 2023, assuming demand remains consistent.

VHFA will closely monitor application volume and will work with the state to ensure that the public has sufficient notice as VHAP winds down. Currently, VHFA intends to release public notice 60 days in advance of the anticipated closure of the program to new applicants. After 60 days, VHFA will offer new applicants the option to sign up for a funding prioritization waitlist. VHFA will contact these applicants individually to let them know if they can submit an application based on funding availability at that point. VHFA makes weekly updates to a dashboard on its website that displays program activity.

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