Housing barriers for immigrants and refugees to Vermont

By: Regine Albin
12/18/2020

Over the past 30 years, over 6,300 refugees have settled in Vermont. As newly arrived immigrants, the process of resettling can come with some challenges. According to a recent report by VHFA, immigrants and refugees face many unique barriers to housing in Vermont.  

Research Design 

To identify housing barriers faced by newly arrived immigrants in Vermont, we (1) conducted a literature review of previous research of newcomers in environments that share similar characteristics as Vermont and (2) interviewed service providers and experts in Vermont familiar with the housing experiences of immigrants. 

Based on this research, we identified barriers in three areas that hinder immigrants to Vermont from obtaining the housing they need:  

Infrastructure 

Lack of decent, affordable housing 
Transportation 

Financial 

Lack of credit history 
Cost of living 
Lack of racial and ethnic diversity in the workforce 

Social 

Language barriers 
Knowledge  
Discrimination 

Findings 

Vermont agencies that work with immigrants have identified eight areas for improving access to housing in the areas of language translation, outreach, affordable housing, workforce diversity, access to the transportation system, and providing funds to organizations.    

  1. Create a statewide language translation service
  2. Provide outreach to immigrant population groups 
  3. Expand access to decent affordable housing large enough for immigrant households 
  4. Diversify the workforce 
  5. Engage immigrants in community discussion of housing needs
  6. Increase access to financial literacy and asset building tools  
  7. Improve the transportation system 
  8. Provide funds to culturally specific organizations 

The Vermont COVID Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program is no longer accepting applications. For emergency rental assistance, please contact Vermont State Housing Authority.