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 […]

2022 Session Update: Week Two

This was a busy week at the General Assembly for VPLC advocates. We often must try and follow bills being heard in two or even three committees that meet at the same time! Please encourage your legislators to do the right thing and publicly praise them when they do. Below, an update on some of our issues […]

2022 Session Update: New Leadership, Same Mission

The 2022 General Assembly is off and running, with 1,938 House and Senate bills filed — and more expected to come. Our advocates are dealing with a lot of change this year: a new Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, members in the House of Delegates, and committee chairs. But among the change, one thing remains […]

How Upfront Fees Make Rental Housing Unaffordable

An update from VPLC’s Director of Housing Advocacy, Christie Marra The NY Times Article outing Virginia as home to the top evictors in the nation, the nationwide eviction moratorium early in the pandemic, and the news articles about our country’s affordable housing crisis have put making safe and healthy housing for all at or near […]

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 […]

SNAP Expansion: What You Need to Know

On July 1, 2021, Virginia expanded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), making over 25,000 families in Virginia newly eligible for food assistance. Here’s what you need to know about the program’s recent changes and available resources that can help with determining eligibility and the application process. The SNAP Eligibility […]

“Family First:” Prioritizing Kinship Foster Care 

In honor of National Kinship Care Month, today’s newsletter comes from VPLC’s Family and Child Welfare Attorney, Valerie L’Herrou with University of Richmond School of Law student Megan Kaleah. Kinship care means the “full-time care, nurturing, and protection of children by relatives.” Relatives may care for children through informal arrangements with parents, through foster care, […]

Update on Eviction Protections in Virginia

A year and a half into the pandemic, laws around tenants’ right continue to change at a rapid pace. Here’s a quick update on what you need to know about eviction protections and important resources that can help those struggling to stay safely housed. CDC Eviction Protections Have Ended Last week the US Supreme Court […]

2021 Special Session Recap: How VPLC’s Budget Priorities Fared

When the General Assembly convened for a special 2021 session, we urged lawmakers to prioritize Virginians hit hardest by the pandemic with a budget focused on equity. Not all of our priorities were funded, but we will continue to push for these in the state’s next budget. Below, here’s how our recommended budget priorities fared […]

Equitable Rescue & Recovery: VPLC Special Session Budget Priorities

The Virginia General Assembly will convene in Richmond on Monday, August 2 for a special legislative session to allocate more than $4.3 billion in federal relief funding and fill judicial vacancies. The remaining $4.3 billion comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, which has provided essential relief to millions of American workers – many of […]

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 […]

Aging in Place with Community Support

Given a choice, most of us would choose to ‘age in place’ as we get older, remaining in our own homes and communities for as long as possible and potentially avoiding living out later years in a nursing home. The COVID-19 pandemic has only underscored this. Over the past 15 months, the virus ravaged nursing […]

PRESS RELEASE: Judge Orders VEC to Fix Issues at Agency

Judge Orders Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) to End Unemployment Insurance Backlog and Fix Issues at the Agency    Legal Aid groups and their Pro Bono Partners will monitor the VEC’s progress to ensure Virginians who have been struggling, often for months, get access to the relief they are owed    Richmond, VA – Today, Judge Henry […]

PRESS RELEASE: Thousands of Virginians are enrolling in health coverage through the ACA because of the American Rescue Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Date:  May 13, 2021 Thousands of Virginians are enrolling in health coverage through the ACA because of the American Rescue Plan More than 24,000 Virginians have selected new health coverage plans since the current special enrollment period began   Richmond, Va.— Virginians are enrolling in health coverage through the Affordable Care Act […]

PRESS RELEASE: USDA announces free lunches for all students through 2021-22 school year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DATE: April 22, 2021 USDA announces free lunches for all students through 2021-22 school year The extension will bring relief to millions of food-insecure families. RICHMOND, VA – The United States Department of Agriculture has extended universal free lunch for all students through the next school year, bringing relief to millions of […]

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