The Housing for Everyone Law Project (HELP) does two things:
- Through our helpline, we help tenants get Vermont Emergency Rental Assistance Program (VERAP), Reach Up Emergency Rental Assistance (RUERA), and utility benefits. We will have this service until June 30, 2023. Those programs are expected to end before then.
- We defend tenants facing eviction cases in court.
Vermont has an epidemic of housing insecurity. Today, half of the eviction cases filed in court are for “no cause.” This is when the tenant did nothing wrong but is being forced by legal process to leave their home. Often it is because the landlord wants to renovate to raise the rent or to sell in a hot housing market. Sometimes the landlord wants to change the use from permanent housing to temporary vacation housing. Rental unit vacancy is at an all-time low in Vermont. There is no housing to be found.
Eviction upends the lives of people who are housed and want to keep their home, but are forced to leave by a legal process. Evictions can create enormous stress, health issues, and lasting legal and housing problems. When we represent tenants, we make sure they have due process in the eviction process.
Our website has information about eviction process and the VERAP and RUERA rent assistance programs.
Access them on our VTLawHelp.org website.
- Vermont Emergency Rental Assistance Program (VERAP)
- Reach Up Emergency Rental Assistance (RUERA)
- In the 12 months ending June 2022, 1,314 new evictions were filed in Vermont — an average of 24 per week. Half were filed for no cause.
- HELP was able to give legal help to 536 eviction defendants in the last year.
- As a social determinate of health, “evictions are considered by experts to be among the most deleterious sources of housing instabilityin that they often come about suddenly, create extreme financial strain and stress, and carry lasting legal consequences that can preclude families from accessing quality, affordable housing in the future.” Source: Jacky M. Jennings, PhD, MPH and Kathryn M. Leifheit, MSPH
COVID created an eviction crisis for tenant
At 66 years old, Steve had hoped to continue to work, but found himself without income during the pandemic. HELP encouraged him to apply for Social Security benefits. We helped him get rent assistance, including help from VERAP. Then we helped him settle two evictions for non-payment of rent over the last couple of years. Steve was able to stay in his apartment. He’s relieved not to look for a new place in an extremely tight rental market.
Name(s) and some details have been changed to protect anonymity and confidentiality.
You may qualify for legal help from Vermont Legal Aid. To ask for a referral to Vermont Legal Aid or other legal help:
- use our Legal Help Tool on the VTLawHelp.org website, or
- call our legal helpline at 1-800-889-2047.