The Department of Public Service and Vermont State Housing Authority have $12.7 million available to assist renters through the Vermont Emergency Rental Assistance Program for Utility Services (VERAP-U). Water and sewer bills for eligible renters or landlords are included in this new program.
The rental assistance program began in early spring 2021. The utility assistance program is open for applications as of June 2, 2021.
UPDATE (9/26/22): VERAP-U will be winding down over the next few months. On October 1, assistance payments for utility bills will be reduced from 100% to 70%. All payments will end on December 31, 2022. The last day to apply for VERAP-U will be December 31, 2022. For more information see erap.vsha.org
This funding is available to cover rent and utility bills for residential renters who:
- are at or below 80% of area median household income;
- have experienced unemployment, loss/reduction of income, or other financial hardship due to COVID-19;
- and face a risk of homelessness or housing instability.
Renters can receive up to 12 months of assistance for services rendered on or after April 1, 2020. There is a cap of $10,000 on utility benefits. UPDATE: assistance payments will end on December 31, 2022. Applications submitted after 9/30/2022 will receive assistance at 70% for all benefit months including arrearages.
Landlords can work with eligible tenants to apply for payment of bills that are included in rent.
Renters can apply at erap.vsha.org or call 833-488-3727. A copy of utility bills will need to be submitted.
Getting Started (for Utility Owners)
1. Login/register in the Owner Portal located at: https://verapownerportal.reframeassist.io/#/auth/login
2. Use the exact name on your W-9
3. Enter 9999 as your Tax ID
4. If you have not provided a W9 and direct deposit (ACH) information in the last 12 months, please do so at https://vtutilityhelp.com/
Reviewing Customer Applications
1. Login to the portal at https://vcaaptwoutilityportal.reframeassist.io/#/auth/login
2. Click on the Unit Certifications item in the left hand navigation menu to see a list of customers who have applied for funds.
3. Click on an application and fill in the required information.
5. The VERAP Caseworker will review your request and authorize payments.
Other Assistance Programs
The Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance Program (VCAAP) has closed.
The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) can provide water/sewer bill assistance to eligible households with overdue bills. Find info at https://vtruralwater.org/lihwap/
The Vermont Homeowner Assistance Program (HAP) can provide water/sewer bill assistance to homeowners. Homeowners can apply at https://vermonthap.vhfa.org/ Utilities can find info and register at https://vermonthap.vhfa.org/serviceProviders
Note that a customer’s bill cannot receive payment from multiple programs. However, because each program has slightly different requirements and timeframes, it may be possible for a customer to receive payments for different bills from different programs.
Portal Login: https://verapownerportal.reframeassist.io/#/auth/login
Informational letter from DPS: https://vtruralwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/VERAP_U_-Informational_Final.docx
Recording of Utility Vendor Training: https://vtutilityhelp.com?wvideo=4xqfn3b68p
VERAP-U Website with FAQs: https://vtutilityhelp.com/
Vermont Emergency Rental Assistance Call Center: 833-488-3727 (833-4VT-ERAP)
Monday – Friday: 8:30am – 7:00pm, Saturday: 9:00am – 1:00pm