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Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity community action agency assistance programs.

The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity provides emergency assistance and social services to the less fortunate and low income in northeastern Vermont, including Burlington as well as the counties of Chittenden, Addison, Franklin, and Grand Isle. Staff and volunteers from the agency work with clients to improve their economic situation and offer access to financial aid.

Energy assistance resources

Energy assistance is available across Vermont and the region as part of the Fuel Assistance program. Do not wait until you miss paying a bill or run out of oil to apply.

The Seasonal Fuel Assistance tends to operate year round, provided there is government funding available. It can help low income and working poor households pay utilities and save energy.

The Crisis Fuel program helps thousands of families in Chittenden County and nearby towns and the region. This is for those families that are facing a shut off or that are in danger of running out of fuel. This federally funded program provides emergency help to renters or home owners who pay for heat or who have it included in their rent. Grants or loans may also be offered for furnace repair or replacements.

The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity can help people with avoiding disconnect of electric service, provide funds for purchasing the primary source of your heat (such as natural, oil or propane gas, wood, electric) or as indicated, repairs to a furnace. For fuel assistance call.

  • Chittenden County - 1-800-287-7971
  • Addison County - dial 1-800-639-2318
  • Franklin/Grand Isle Counties can be reached at 1-800-300-7392
  • The after hours Crisis Fuel Assistance line can be reached at 1-800-479-6151




The Warmth Program is for winter heating bills and is offered in an emergency as a last resort. It may be provided for those households that have exhausted their supply of fuel or that face disconnection of heating or utility services. Each household may receive up $75, if they qualify and funding is available. Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity makes a payment directly to the fuel dealer or utility company.

Thousands of families across Chittenden, Addison, Franklin, and Grand Isle Vermont benefit from this each year. Local utility companies participate as well, including Burlington Electric, Hardwick Electric Department, Vermont Electric Co-operative, Green Mountain Power, Lyndonville Electric Dept., Northfield Electric Dept., Vermont Gas, Washington Electric Co-Op, and Energy Co-Op of Vermont.

Weatherization can provide the low income with a free energy audit to identify potential improvements in energy efficiency and comfort. Homeowners and renters can get information and tips on ways to save money on fuel bills. Contractors will also perform a check-up on your heating system to ensure safety, efficiency, and effectiveness. Champlain Valley Weatherization may offer free lighting and appliance upgrades from a partnership with Efficiency Vermont. 802-951-0151

Housing and rent programs from the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity

Voices Against Violence will offer crisis intervention, advocacy and other support services to victims/survivors of domestic and sexual violence. This is available in Franklin and Grand Isle Counties Vermont. Phone number is 524-6575.





Housing resources include Laurie’s House. This is a regional shelter that is run by the non-profit Voices Against Violence. The location will provide provides temporary emergency housing for women and their children. In addition to having a place to stay in the shelter, the staff at Laurie’s House provides safety planning, support, advocacy, crisis intervention, housing advocacy, funds for paying deposits when ready to move, resources, and referrals.

Transitional Housing is a scattered site supportive housing program for domestic, sexual violence and stalking victims. The purpose of the apartments made available and the project is to provide a bridge between short term, emergency shelter and permanent housing. It will also offer participants sufficient time to explore their longer term housing solutions and employment options.

Housing, rent assistance and homeless prevention is widely available. The Community Action Housing Assistance Program has staff and volunteers that work with struggling families to stabilize their housing situation. Assistance is for those facing eviction and the goal is to prevent homelessness.

The non-profit provides information and referrals to resources in Chittenden and Franklin County as well as other towns. Counselors will help clients secure affordable housing in the community. If you are found to eligible, the agency may provide financial assistance to help with security deposits or rental arrears. Individuals may also be referred to other services and resources that can help people avoid falling behind in the future.

Back rent may be occasionally paid as well. It will be for people with an eviction notice or letter from their landlord. Bring proof of income, expenses, and other information. Phone (802) 863-6248 ext. 727 or 752.

Staff from Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity also work cooperatively with many human service agencies in Burlington and Chittenden County. The agencies work together to address homelessness, the lack of decent & affordable housing, and offer supportive services. The community action agency partners with the Chittenden County Help Fund, Chittenden County Continuum of Care, the Local Interagency Team and also the Housing Review Team of the AHS Burlington District Office.

Vermont Tenants is available statewide. It provides residents with free information and referral services. This is offered directly to tenants by phone and face-to-face tenant counseling. Learn about eviction prevention services and rights, rental programs, and your rights. The program also designs and conducts workshops on residential rental housing laws, tenant obligations, codes and code enforcement. 1-800-287-7971.

Additional social services

Food is available throughout all of northeast Vermont. The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity partners with churches and pantries to provide groceries, meals, formula, and other assistance to the hungry and less fortunate.

  • Addison Community Action Food Shelf, 54 Creek Road, Suite A, Middlebury, Vermont 05753, call 802-388-2285
  • Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, 228 North Winooski Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401, call 802-658-7939
  • Northwest Family Foods, 5 Lemnah Drive, St. Albans, Vermont, phone 802- 527-7392

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) is run by the community action agency. The Office of Economic Opportunity works closely with the United Way, IRS, AARP, Champlain Valley Agency on Aging, VT State Tax Department, Champlain College, St. Michael’s College, and local translators to provide the low income and seniors with free tax filing and preparation. It is a federally funded program that offers free tax help for military personnel, low-to-moderate income taxpayers, and elderly taxpayers alike.





Head Start and the very similar Early Head Start are funded by the federal government. It is the nation’s leading national child and family development program. It provides comprehensive services for pregnant women, children from birth to age five, and their families in Vermont, Chittenden County, and the surrounding counties.

Head Start services for children promote school readiness and include mental health, early education, health, nutrition, and other social services for children with special needs and the disabled. Champlain Valley Head Start offers both home and center based services to eligible families.

Applying for assistance from Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity

The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity has a few offices in the area.

  • Franklin/Grand Isle, 5 Lemnah Drive, suite 5, St. Albans, Vermont 05478, dial 802-527-7392
  • Chittenden County, 255 South Champlain Street, Burlington, VT 05402, telephone 802-863-6248
  • Addison County, 54 Creek Road, Suite A, Middlebury, VT, 05753, dial 802-388-2285


By Jon McNamara

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