Housing Provisions in the Federal Emergency Relief Package

While the federal stimulus law (the CARES Act) contains a number of provisions to keep families in their homes and help them pay rent, it does not go nearly far enough. The law puts a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions while also providing mortgage forbearance for homeowners with federally-backed mortgages. It also includes a moratorium on evictions for properties receiving any federal assistance. However, this does not provide relief for millions of Americans. 

I support suspending rent and mortgage payments for everyone who is struggling to make ends meet. We need an immediate moratorium on evictions, foreclosures, and utility shut-offs through the end of this emergency. I've called on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (read letter here), the American Apartment Owners Association (read letter here), and the National Rental Home Council (read letter here) to do just that. And we need substantial funding to support the numerous organizations in Vermont providing safe, decent, affordable housing.


What You Need to Know about Support for Renters, Homeowners, and Those at Risk of Homelessness

  • The CARES Act provides $4 billion to support those who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness through Emergency Solution Grants, and $3 billion to help low-income Americans avoid eviction through rental assistance.
    • Vermont will receive $4.6 million total for housing assistance grants.
  • From March 18th through May 17th, there is a 60-day moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for homeowners with federally backed mortgages, and up to 180 days of forbearance, with the option to extend for another 180 days, during this crisis.
  • From March 27th through July 25th, there is a 120-day moratorium on evictions, and a ban on late charge fees, in properties receiving any federal assistance.

How to Receive Housing Assistance:


  • You may be eligible for emergency housing assistance if you have an emergency need and do not have the income or resources to meet that need. To apply for assistance with your mortgage, rent, room rent, or temporary housing, click here:
  • For housing resources in your community call 2-1-1
  • If you are a renter and worried about paying rent, first contact your landlord to confirm if the eviction moratorium in the federal stimulus bill applies to you. 
    • If you need help paying rent, call the VT Economic Services Division's Benefits Service Center at 1-800-479-6151. You can also call 2-1-1.
    • For more information and referrals contact Vermont Tenants at 802-864-0099
  • If you are a homeowner struggling to pay your mortgage, contact your mortgage servicer to confirm if the foreclosure moratorium applies to you and to request forbearance. 
    • If you are a homeowner with a mortgage that is not federally issued, speak with your lender about your options. 
  • To apply for public housing and housing choice vouchers (Section 8), visit the following Public Housing Authority websites:
  • If you need legal advice regarding your housing situation call 1-800-889-2047 or fill out a request form:
  • To apply for heating assistance through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) call 1-800-479-6151 or click here:
  • To apply for energy assistance for lower-income Green Mountain Power Customers and Vermont Gas Customers click here:

Vermont's Response:


The Vermont Senate passed S.333 on April 10th, a bill to put a moratorium on all evictions and foreclosures until the end of Vermont's state of emergency. The bill is now awaiting a vote in the Vermont House of Representatives. If signed into law, courts could still hold emergency eviction hearing cases where tenants present a serious threat to the safety of other residents. The bill does not put a moratorium on rent — tenants would still have a responsibility to pay. 

On March 18th, the Vermont Public Utility Commission ordered a moratorium on disconnections of natural gas, electric and telecommunication services. Find more information here:


Frequently Asked Questions:


Who qualifies for rent and mortgage protection under the federal stimulus law?

Renters are protected from eviction for non-payment of rent for 120 days, and cannot be charged late fees if they live: 

  • In a property receiving federal subsidies such as public housing, Section 8, USDA, rural housing programs and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit.
  • In a property that has a mortgage issued or guaranteed by a federal agency like FHA, USDA, VA, or by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

Homeowners are protected from foreclosure or eviction for 60 days, and are eligible for mortgage forbearance for up to 180 days, with the option to extend another 180 days, if they:

  • Have a mortgage from FHA, USDA, VA, or a Section 184 or 184A mortgage
    • USDA 502 direct borrowers can extend their forbearance for up to 2 years, and can request payment assistance
  • Have a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac

Multifamily homeowners can request forbearance for up to 30 days, with the option to extend another 60 days, if they:

  • Have a mortgage issued or guaranteed by a federal agency like FHA, USDA, or by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Agree not to evict tenants or charge late fees 
Renters in a multifamily property are only protected from eviction if the mortgage is under forbearance.

How do homeowners know if they have a federally-backed loan?

Homeowners should be able to tell from their loan documents if they have a federally-backed loan.

To check if you have a loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, go to the following sites:

You can also contact your loan servicer for this information, or call the Department of Housing and Urban Development National Service Center at 877-622-8525.

If I am a homeowner and qualify for forbearance, what should I do? 

Contact your mortgage servicer to request forbearance. You do not need to provide documentation; however, you will need to attest that you are experiencing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis. 

Forbearance allows you to pause or reduce your mortgage payments for a period of time. You will not be charged late fees or accrue interest during forbearance. 


Will renters and homeowners be required to make the payments they missed during this time period?

Renters: Yes. The moratorium is on evictions, not on rent payments. You will likely need to make any missed rent payments — you should speak to your landlord about your options. 

  • If you participate in a federal rental housing assistance program (such as public housing, section 8, or rural assistance) you have protections under the terms of your program. You should request an income re-certification and minimum rent hardship exemption from your public housing agency or property owner. 
Homeowners: Yes, you will have to pay the missed payments at some point during the mortgage loan period. You can work within your servicer's existing programs to help get back on track with payments. Your servicer is required to work through a variety of repayment options when creating your forbearance agreement to ensure you can afford the payments. Be sure you know the details of your forbearance agreement and when you will owe missed payments.

Is there help available for borrowers with a reverse mortgage (a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage)? 

Borrowers may request a delay in the time at which the loan becomes "due and payable" for up to 6 months, with the option of extending for an additional 6 months. 


What if borrowers are having trouble paying their property taxes?

If you are unable to make your property tax payments, contact your local government office to discuss a payment plan. The state of Vermont is considering giving town officials the authority to delay property tax deadlines, but legislation has not yet passed the Vermont Senate or House of Representatives. 


Is there any protection or relief for homeowners and renters who are not living in residences supported by federal mortgages and assistance? 

Renters: Not under the federal stimulus package. As discussed above, the state of Vermont is considering putting a moratorium on all evictions and foreclosures, but a bill has not been signed into law. You should speak with your landlord if you are concerned you cannot pay rent, or call the VT Economic Services Division's Benefit Service Center at 1-800-479-6151, or call 2-1-1.

Homeowners: Not under the federal stimulus package. Contact your financial institution or servicer to find out if they are offering forbearance, deferrals, or other assistance during this crisis. Be sure to ask for details of the forbearance and repayment terms. 

Again, I support suspending rent and mortgage payments for everyone who is struggling to make ends meet through the duration of this crisis. 



It is clear we must do more to ensure everyone has access to safe shelter during this pandemic, as well as the means to pay for basic necessities. We must now think about additional measures to protect our economy and workers — I've called for recurring payments of $2,000 per month until the end of this crisis, and for a paycheck security program to ensure every worker continues to receive their paycheck. Too many Americans are living with the fear of losing their housing and are waiting for the help they need.

I will keep fighting for you in the U.S. Senate. As always, my office is here to help. We continue to be in communication with Vermont's state and local authorities on the many pressing issues impacting Vermonters. Do not hesitate to contact my office by phone at 802-862-0697 or 1-800-339-9834, or on our website.



Additional Resources:


How Can We Help?

My Burlington office has a team of experienced caseworkers who help Vermonters navigate federal agencies every day. If you think my office can help you, please do not hesitate to call 1-800-339-9834 or (802) 862-0697, or click here

If you would like to share your thoughts on pending legislation, or if you have an idea that we could address through new legislation, click here