Vermont is a beautiful state but making ends meet can be challenging for low-income residents. The cost of living in Vermont can be high, making it difficult for individuals and families with limited incomes to afford basic needs like food, housing and healthcare. Fortunately, there are many grants and assistance programs available to help low-income Vermonters bridge the gap.
Financial and Cash Assistance
3SquaresVT provides nutrition assistance to low-income individuals and families to help them purchase healthy food. Eligible participants receive a monthly benefit on an EBT card, which can be used to buy food at participating grocery stores and farmers’ markets. The benefit amount is based on household size, income and expenses. To qualify, individuals must meet certain income guidelines. To learn more about 3SquaresVT and apply online, visit https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/3SquaresVT.
The Vermont Rental Subsidy Program offers rental assistance to low-income Vermonters who are at risk of homelessness or have special needs. The program provides a subsidy to help cover the difference between the rent the participant can afford and the fair market rent in the area. Eligibility is based on income, household size and other factors. To learn more information, please take a look at https://www.housingdata.org/find-rental-housing/Other-Programs/Vermont-Rental-Subsidy-Program.
Housing and Rent Assistance
The Vermont State Housing Authority provides affordable housing options for low-income individuals and families. They offer programs such as the Housing Choice Voucher program, which provides rental assistance to eligible families and individuals and the Vermont Affordable Housing Tax Credit program, which encourages the development of affordable housing. For more information, visit their website at https://www.vsha.org/.
The Champlain Housing Trust is a nonprofit organization that offers affordable rental and homeownership opportunities to low-income persons, seniors and families in Vermont. Programs they offer include the Shared Equity program, which helps eligible households purchase a home, and the Rental Rehab program, which helps landlords make necessary repairs to their rental properties. To find out more, visit their website at https://www.getahome.org/.
The Vermont Health Access Program (VHAP) is a public health insurance program for low-income Vermont residents who are not eligible for Medicaid. This program offers comprehensive medical coverage, including
- doctor visits,
- hospital stays,
- and mental health services.
Eligibility is based on income and household size. Low-income people in Vermont can apply for VHAP online through the Vermont Health Connect website: https://portal.healthconnect.vermont.gov/VTHBELand/welcome.action.
Utility Bill Assistance
The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) in Vermont is a program that helps eligible low-income Vermonters pay for heating expenses. The program provides financial assistance for heating bills through a one-time payment to the heating vendor. The amount of the payment varies depending on the applicant’s income, household size and fuel type. To apply for EAP, interested individuals can contact the Department for Children and Families (DCF) by phone or by filling out an online application. Eligibility for EAP is based on household income and size, fuel type and housing situation. Those who qualify for EAP can receive assistance for up to one heating season. For further information and assistance with the application process, interested individuals can visit https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/eap.
In addition to the Energy Assistance Program, there are other resources available for those who need help paying their utility bills such as help paying bills, help paying water bills or help paying electricity bills. These resources may provide additional assistance and support for low-income persons, seniors and families struggling to afford their utility bills.
Food and Nutrition Assistance
The Vermont Foodbank is a non-profit organization that works with food shelves, meal sites and other organizations to provide food to Vermonters in need. They offer a variety of programs, including the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which provides nutritious food to eligible seniors. To find a food shelf or meal site near you or to learn more about the Vermont Foodbank’s programs, visit https://www.vtfoodbank.org/.
The Meals on Wheels program offers home-delivered meals to eligible seniors and individuals with disabilities. The program also provides a daily check-in for participants, which can help reduce social isolation. To learn more information, please take a look at https://vcil.org/services/meals-on-wheels/#.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) offers a variety of transportation programs and services for low-income individuals, single mothers and seniors, including the Vermont Mobility Initiative, which provides transportation vouchers for eligible individuals to use for medical appointments, employment and other essential trips. The agency also offers a Senior Drivers Program, which provides assessments, training and resources for older drivers. More information can be found on their website: https://vtrans.vermont.gov/.
Education and Training Assistance
Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) offers financial aid and support to low-income Vermont residents seeking higher education. Their programs include
- and low-interest loans.
They also offer counseling and assistance with college and career planning. Visit their website at https://www.vsac.org/ for more information.
Vermont Adult Learning is a nonprofit organization that provides adult education and training services to low-income individuals in Vermont. The organization’s programs include
- basic literacy and numeracy skills,
- high school equivalency preparation,
- English as a second language
- and career readiness training.
Additionally, they provide career counseling and job placement services. To learn more information, please take a look at https://www.vtadultlearning.org/
The Vermont Department of Labor offers a variety of education and training services to low-income individuals and single mothers who are unemployed or underemployed. Their programs include job training, career counseling, resume and job search assistance and apprenticeships. The Vermont Department of Labor also provides support for workers who have been laid off or are transitioning to new careers. For more information, visit https://labor.vermont.gov/.
The Salvation Army provides clothing vouchers to eligible individuals in need. These vouchers can be used at their Family Thrift Store in Burlington. They also offer other services such as emergency assistance, housing assistance and youth programs. To learn more about the Salvation Army, visit https://salvationarmy.org/.
Legal Services Vermont presents free legal services to low-income Vermonters in civil cases. They offer assistance with issues related to housing, family law, public benefits and more. Their website provides information on the different types of legal assistance they offer, as well as a directory of legal aid organizations throughout Vermont. To learn more information, please take a look at https://legalservicesvt.org/.
Vermont Legal Aid provides free civil legal services to low-income individuals, single mothers and families in Vermont. A wide range of issues are addressed by them, including housing, public benefits, health care and education. Their website includes resources for self-help and a directory of legal clinics and other legal aid organizations in Vermont. For more information, visit https://vtlegalaid.org/.
Assistance for Low-Income Seniors
Vermont’s HomeShare Vermont Program connects low-income seniors with other individuals who have spare rooms in their homes. The senior pays a reduced rent while providing companionship and assistance to the homeowner. Read more information at https://www.homesharevermont.org/.
Vermont’s Reach Up Program helps low-income seniors and families with dependent children to become self-sufficient. The program provides financial assistance, job training and education to eligible participants. More information can be found on their website: https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/reachup.