Virginia legal aid programs challenge debt buyers’ predatory practices in Virginia 

By Jay Speer, VPLC Executive Director Last week Virginia legal aid programs and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association filed an amici (friend of the court) brief in a case before the Virginia Court of Appeals challenging the shady practices of Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) and other debt buyers that has led to over $217 million […]

At VPLC, April is Help Families Thrive Month 

Every April, Virginia and the nation observe “Child Abuse Prevention Month.” But at VPLC, we prefer to think of April as “Supporting Families Month” or “Help Families Thrive Month.” Why? Because the best way to help children is to support families and help them thrive.  In Virginia as elsewhere, the number one reason families are […]

ACTION ALERT: Our dysfunctional health care system can ruin the lives of Virginians.

HB1370, introduced by Delegate Karrie Delaney, prohibits medical providers from reporting medical debt to consumer reporting agencies.   VPLC supports this bill which has passed the House and a Senate committee. Why did Delegate Delaney introduce this bill and  Why is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concerned about health care debt?  “The fact that the CFPB […]

Exploitative Lenders Fight Back Against Fair, Transparent & Competitive Loans

Why are the payday lenders trying to destroy the CFPB? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly. The CFPB was created in the wake of the 2008 recession when reckless financial practices by banks and other financial institutions nearly […]

Helping Families Thrive: A New Approach to Child Abuse Prevention  

Author: Valerie L’Herrou/VPLC Family & Child Welfare Attorney Around the country and here in Virginia, every April is designated “Child Abuse Prevention Month.” But at VPLC, we think this term is misleading.   Why? Because we believe that the best way to help children is to help families thrive.  Most cases of child abuse are actually cases […]

OPINION: Dominion Faces the Consequences of its Actions (Richmond Times Dispatch)

Read the Richmond Times Dispatch opinion piece by Albert Pollard, published February 19, 2023 here. If you are unable to reach the linked page, a pdf is below.

Reimagining Virginia’s Mobile Home Parks

Over 350,000 Virginians live in Mobile Home Parks. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, mobile homes are the largest source of non-subsidized affordable housing in the U.S. At a time when, according to JLARC, over 900,000 Virginia households pay more than they can afford for their housing (53% are renters, 47% owners), […]

Five Ways to Address the Virginia Employment Commission’s First Level Appeals Backlog   

By Pat Levy-Lavelle, Legal Aid Justice Center and Flannery O’Rourke, Virginia Poverty Law Center The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) currently has a backlog of more than 96,000 first level appeals of unemployment decisions. The persistence of this backlog directly harms workers and employers, who (on average) must wait a whole year for an appeal hearing. […]

When Virginia fails to provide meaningful legal representation to parents, it’s rural, low-income, and Black families who are torn apart.

Author: Anna Daniszewski/VPLC Legal Fellow Impressive reporting from Cardinal News this week shows the crisis of parents’ legal representation in Virginia. Services providers for children and even a county attorney – the person who brings child welfare cases against parents – agree: children suffer the consequences when parents have “paltry legal support.”  When parents have […]

PRESS RELEASE: Virginia Ratepayer Protection Alliance Urges General Assembly to Oppose “Virginia Electric Utility Regulation Act”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE    Virginia Ratepayer Protection Alliance Urges General Assembly to Oppose “Virginia Electric Utility Regulation Act”  Utility-backed legislation is bad for ratepayers, erodes regulatory oversight  The Virginia Ratepayer Protection Alliance, an initiative launched in 2022 by the Virginia Poverty Law Center to advocate for millions of forgotten and over-charged ratepayers, has announced its opposition […]

Foster Care Update: Utilizing Kinship Care to Keep Families Together

Author: Anna Daniszewski/VPLC Legal Fellow Virginia Governor Youngkin’s Safe and Sound Task Force has focused on gaps and lack of options for high-needs children in the foster care system. Many of these children were forced to sleep in DSS offices or emergency rooms. The task force is an exemplar for how to bring people together […]

Reducing the Trauma of Removal

Why Reunification and Sibling-Placements Are Crucial to the Well-Being of Children in the Child Welfare System By Courtney Squires, Summer Intern for the VPLC Center for Family Advocacy, University of Richmond School of Law To ensure the child welfare system works in the best interest of children, it is important to understand that removal and […]

Virginia Must Do Better By Families 

By Valerie L’Herrou Families are important to all of us, but especially to children. As British pediatrician and psychologist DW Winnicott put it, “There is no such thing as a baby. If you set out to describe a baby, you will find you are describing a baby and someone. A baby cannot exist alone, but […]

PRESS RELEASE: Class action settlement provides $489 million in relief to victims of illegal internet payday lenders

After three years of extensive litigation, the settlement will provide relief to approximately 555,000 consumers who were subject to illegal practices by internet payday lenders. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 12, 2022   Richmond, VA – The federal court in Richmond today gave preliminary approval of a class action settlement that will provide $489 million of relief to […]

PRESS RELEASE: Statement from the Virginia Poverty Law Center and Legal Aid Justice Center on Gubernatorial Vetoes of HB573 and SB297 (Medical Debt Reform)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 14, 2022 Virginia Poverty Law Center and Legal Aid Justice Center state that Governor Youngkin’s vetoes of Del. Clark’s HB573 and Sen. Deeds’ SB297 have derailed critical, popular, and thoughtfully crafted bipartisan consumer debt reforms for thousands upon thousands of Virginians. Richmond, VA – Outstanding bills for medical treatment are one […]

Why Language Access is Essential for Domestic Violence Survivors

In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, this post comes from VPLC’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Attorney, Susheela Varky. Imagine you have to go to court — whether it’s to pursue your own case against someone who has wronged you or because you’ve received a subpoena to appear as a witness in a case. Most […]

Celebrating National Energy Efficiency Day – and Continuing the Work to Rebuild Virginia’s Energy Landscape into a Balanced and Equitable System

October 6 is National Energy Efficiency Day. Today’s post comes from VPLC’s Director of Outreach and Consumer Advocacy, Dana Wiggins and Affordable Clean Energy Project Coordinator, Carmen Bingham. Energy Efficiency and the Affordable Clean Energy Project Energy efficiency is the least cost resource for energy, because the least expensive kilowatt hour is the one you […]

PRESS RELEASE: New anti-poverty laws take effect in Virginia today

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 1, 2021 The suite of new laws will protect tenants, help families with food assistance, expand health coverage, protect consumers, and more. Richmond, VA – Effective today, several new laws in the Commonwealth will benefit hundreds of thousands of low-income Virginians. The new laws include better protections for tenants, expansion of […]

PRESS RELEASE: Medicaid expands to cover full dental services, prenatal services regardless of immigration status

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Date:  July 1, 2021 Medicaid expands to cover full dental services, prenatal services regardless of immigration status Richmond, Va.— Effective today, Virginia has expanded Medicaid to cover dental benefits for all new and current enrollees as well as added new coverage for pregnant women regardless of their immigration status. The decision to […]

New Housing Laws Take Effect Today

Big changes in housing law are taking effect in Virginia, with many temporary eviction protections expiring soon and new housing laws that passed during the 2021 legislative session going into effect today. Read below to learn more about the major updates. EVICTION PROTECTIONS   Federal CDC Eviction Moratorium extended to July 31, 2021: The CDC Eviction […]

PRESS RELEASE: Jill Hanken, VPLC Health Attorney to Retire, VPLC Announces Scholarship Fund in Her Honor

The Jill A. Hanken Scholarship Fund will honor Hanken’s accomplishments and build upon her legacy by training health law advocates in Virginia’s legal aid community. RICHMOND, VA – After a long and storied career of public service, advocacy, and leadership in healthcare for low-income Virginians, Jill Hanken, Health Attorney and Director of the Center for […]

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