There is a high demand for housing assistance amongst low-income earners due to the high costs of rental and mortgage payments. This article will explore resources available to assist low-income earning single mothers to keep their family in a safe and healthy environment.
Statewide Housing Assistance
Throughout the State of Vermont, an organization known as Pathways Vermont provides a range of assistance programs to families as well as individuals. They run a housing assistance program known as Housing First which was initiated to end chronic homelessness by making permanent housing accessible to the community. The Housing First program offers community-based supports and independent housing to single moms that are facing homelessness. https://www.pathwaysvermont.org/
Emergency Housing Assistance
An organization known as A New Place has a mission to offer emergency housing services to the homeless. Their shelters and services are for Vermonters who are at risk of becoming homeless through losing their home or those presently facing homelessness. https://www.anewplacevt.org/
The Southeastern Vermont Community Action (SEVCA) is an organization the developed a Housing Assistance Program that tackles housing instability and homelessness amongst low-income earners in Windsor and Windham Counties. The assistance they offer includes payment of security deposits, rental back payment to inhibit eviction, and first month’s rent to help with relocation, money management, housing placement, landlord-tenant mediation, and plenty more help to guarantee that the families can keep their present housing or find a decent, yet affordable housing. The SEVCA offers Housing case management. This service is available to families experiencing a crisis leading to financial instability and therefore requires intense assistance. A case manager will be assigned to help the family for the duration of the case to guarantee that the challenge they are faced with is resolved. https://www.sevca.org/family-services/housing-stabilization
The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO) runs a Community Action Housing Assistance Program which works to stabilize housing and prevent homelessness for single-mother families. They have Housing Advocates, who supply referrals and information to assist in securing affordable housing. Qualifying applicants are provided with financial assistance to help with the payment of rental debts or security deposits. Some of their requirements for back rent assistance include:
- Letter from the landlord or an eviction notice. The letter must include the landlord’s phone number and address.
- Lease form
- Verification of your income for the past 30 days
Utility Bill (Heating, Water, Electricity, etc) Assistance
Capstone Community Action is an organization dedicated to developing strong families and communities by assisting households who are faced with a risk of depleting their home heating fuel or families who risk having their electric services disconnected. They work with various organizations to be able to offer these essential resources to those in need. https://capstonevt.org/#home
Eviction Prevention and Legal Assistance
The Vermont Legal Aid assists the community with civil legal problems that jeopardize their shelter, health, and job. The legal assistance they offer includes:
- Representation of clients.
- Availing of legal information and offering advice, and other resourceful tools.
- Testifying in front of administrative committees or the legislature about how laws affect Vermonters.
The Community Justice Center (CJC) aims to assist the community by practicing restorative justice which is a community-based method for reacting to misconduct that emphasizes the damage caused and how to make the situation better. This method aims is to develop an understanding, accountability, and offer a chance to heal. The Community Conflict Assistance program enables a dialogue associated with community and neighborhood disputes. Their mediation services assist community members including single mothers, to discuss issues and resolve their conflicts, which involve issues such as landlord-tenant disputes. The Springfield Restorative Justice Center (SRJC), which is under the CJC, offers free arbitration services to residents as well as businesses in Southern Windsor County. The CJC relies on volunteers to give their time to assist in delivering these services to mend the damage initiated by conflict in the communities. The organization plays an important role in the effective reconciliation of the tenant and their landlord. http://cjnvt.org/center/springfield-restorative-justice-center/
Charities and Churches Housing Assistance
The Joint Urban Ministry Project (JUMP) runs an emergency assistance program in the form of a Drop-In-Center. They offer financial assistance in the form of vouchers that can be utilized for utility payments, gasoline, food, bus passes, and more. They provide many essential household supplies, diapers, and non-perishable. http://www.jumpvt.org/services.html
Homeless Shelter Assistance (Transitional Housing)
Groundworks Shelter offers a long stay and thorough case management for all residents. They assist with locating and applying for subsidized housing opportunities. The shelter functions at capacity all year round and therefore has a waiting list for admission. https://groundworksvt.org/if-you-need-help/
Homeowner/Buyer Grants and Assistance
The Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) manages a Housing Resource Center (HRC), where they offer grants to qualified applicants that will assist them with mortgage payments, back rent, utility deposits, utility debts, and security deposits. Some of the requirements for the grant application include:
- Rent should be in arrears
- Applicant must have some form of income
- Applicant must be a resident of Chittenden County
- The landlord must be willing to continue with the rental agreement
- The applicant’s expenses must not exceed their income
- The applicant must have not accessed HRC assistance in the last 18 months.
The funding available is limited therefore security-deposit grants are only issued to individuals who are facing homelessness. https://cotsonline.org/
Home Improvement Grants
The Champlain Housing Trust (CHT) provides financial counseling and homebuyer education, as well as rehabilitation loans and affordable energy efficiency. To access the Home Repair Loan, the initial step is to fill out the eligibility packet, then CHT will conduct a site visit to the home. They will evaluate the project to be completed and evaluate any other health and safety issues in the home. The funding used by the organization requires the repair of all health and safety issues found on assessment. The trust provides a $2,500 grant for qualified projects. Given that the cost of the project surpasses $2,500, then CHT will negotiate to establish a suitable alternative to cover the additional costs. https://www.getahome.org/loans/home-repair-loans
The Winooski Housing Authority provides affordable and safe housing opportunities. They offer these opportunities to various groups including seniors in the community, individuals faced with housing challenges due to low-income and this includes single moms. Their goal is to continuously provide housing for low-income families while offering premium quality property management. They deliver their housing services with no discrimination while making reasonable adjustments for families and individuals who need them. https://www.winooskihousing.org/
To join the community in fighting homelessness the Burlington Housing Authority (BHA) provides affordable housing. The organization helps by offering admission to affordable housing for the members of the community who are in need. They also help by acquiring rental grants and support services to single mothers in the community. This enables them to get and keep safe, inexpensive, permanent housing. https://burlingtonhousing.org/