The Vermont State Housing Authority announced last month that the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program will stop taking new applications on October 1st, and the program’s funding is expected to run out in early 2023.

On Monday, the Vermont Interfaith Action held a news conference calling on Governor Phil Scott and Vermont lawmakers to create a new plan for people who need rental assistance. Reverend Beth Ann Maier noted more than 3,000 households will stop receiving rental support within the next three weeks, at a time when many have seen rent increases of 30%.

“VERAP offered the stability of 12 to 18 months of continuous rental support,” Maier said. “Now, only a few months into that plan, the rug is once more pulled out from underneath them, and they are back in survival mode. We all lose humanity when we deny our neighbors access to their very basic needs.”

VERAP was originally created in response to the pandemic. The State’s pre-existing housing services and rental programs will remain in effect. But, current participants of VERAP will receive reduced assistance based on their income.

Representatives from the VIA will be meeting with Rights & Democracy Vermont and Vermont Legal Aid to propose a new assistance plan to legislature in the coming months.