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 […]

LEGISLATION ALERT! Zombie Mortgage Foreclosures

Help Get Rid of Zombie Mortgage Foreclosures HB 184 by Delegate Simon amends Virginia law concerning foreclosures. A second mortgage holder must detail what is owed and must prove they have sent monthly statements to the property owner to recover fees and interest covered by the period the mortgage appeared to be dead. To download […]

LEGISLATION ALERT! Enforce Fairness in Lending

Make probate loans comply with the Virginia Fairness in Lending Act HB 648 by Del. Coyner deals with yet another attempt to evade the 2020 Virginia Fairness in Lending Act, which passed the House in a bipartisan 62-30 vote. VPLC believes that the Virginia General Assembly should determine what is a loan, not the company […]

LEGISLATION ALERT! Dump the Junk Fees

Disclose all Mandatory Fees and Charges VPLC supports HB1320 (McClure) and SB388 (Pekarsky), which would require the disclosure of all mandatory fees and charges included in the advertised and displayed price of any good or service. This would create a clear, upfront picture of the total cost of a product. To download this fact sheet […]

Class Actions Provide Better Access to Justice

Vote YES on House Bill 418 (Simon) The Virginia General Assembly passes laws to properly regulate marketplaces and protect individuals but many times those laws are not effectively enforced because government agencies may lack the necessary resources. Virginia and Mississippi are the only states in the country that do not allow class action lawsuits. Virginians […]

Parents Need Better Legal Protection

Parents need better legal representation When it comes to child dependency cases, judges say they cannot find attorneys willing to take cases. Parents say attorneys don’t take their calls and don’t advocate for them in court. Virginia is ranked 47th out of 50 states in finding a permanent family for children who otherwise age out […]

VPLC on Pod Virginia: Fighting Predatory Landlords, Lenders, and Realtors

VPLC’s Jay Speer and Christie Marra appeared on Pod Virginia this week to discuss VPLC’s legislative agenda and advocacy around ending junk fees and protecting renters. Listen below or on Apple Podcasts:

LEGISLATION ALERT! Don’t Keep Virginians in the Dark

Keep the Lights on for Virginians Experiencing Hard Times VPLC supports HB906 (Shin) and SB480 (Aird), which aim to introduce safeguards around utility shut-offs. Learn more about VPLC’s legislative agenda and get involved HERE. Update: This legislation has passed through the House, next it will be considered by the Senate. Legislative Overview Lower-income households spend […]

Legislation Tackles Much-Needed Minimum Wage Increase

A proposal to incrementally increase the state’s minimum wage, from $12 to $15 hourly advanced through a Senate committee this week. The legislation, carried by Sen. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth, may fare well in both chambers, as Democrats now control both the Senate and House of Delegates. What it costs to live in Virginia “Economic […]

Untangling Virginia’s Unemployment Insurance Overpayments 

VIDEO!  Attorney Flannery O’Rourke explains the problems…and the solutions. Note: see General Assembly legislative updates on the issue below this post by Flannery O’Rourke, Esq. Unemployment insurance can sometimes feel more like a tangled web than a safety net. Some claimants even remain entangled in Virginia’s unemployment insurance system long after their claim ends. Retroactive […]

People are struggling but workplace payday loans are not the answer.

People are struggling to pay their rent, utilities, and buy food.  We see it everywhere.  Lack of affordable housing, lack of access to medical care, utility shutoffs.  The Commonwealth of Virginia is not doing enough to help people.  Into that gap come those that will exploit desperation– payday lenders, get rich quick con men and […]

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 […]

We Can’t Create a Lending Loophole: Pay a Living Wage

A few days into the 2023 Virginia General Assembly session, VPLC learned that an “earned wage access” lender had talked two legislators into filing legislation to “regulate” the industry.  The 2023 General Assembly rejected the legislation.  However, it appears that there will be another effort to pass legislation in the 2024 General Assembly. What is […]

Let’s Talk About Affordable Housing VPLC’s Invitation to Oliver Anthony: Join Us!

Odds are, by now you’ve heard about that song from a country singer in Farmville, Virginia, who performs under the stage name Oliver Anthony.    As he belts “Rich Men North of Richmond,” Mr. Anthony raises an important issue that we here at VPLC care about and work hard to change: that working class and lower-income people work hard […]

VPLC Receives Virginia Law Foundation 2023 Grant

With need for access to justice at an all-time high and the Rule of Law in the news every day, it is gratifying to be among 32 deserving nonprofits across the Commonwealth whose work addresses these areas. The work with Virginia Law Center completely aligns with the Virginia Law Foundation mission to promote the Rule […]

In Memoriam of John Horejsi

June 9, 1940 – August 4, 2023 The staff and friends of Virginia Poverty Law Center mourn the loss of John Horejsi, an unsurpassed advocate for impoverished Virginians. John was the founder of, the fire within, and the guiding light of Social Action Linking Together (SALT). SALT is a network of Virginians embracing the principle […]

Recognize the Signs of a Scam and Avoid Becoming a Victim.

It seems like scams are everywhere and sometimes it feels like there’s no way to avoid being taken advantage of by heartless scammers. Don’t worry – we’ve put together the top red flags to look for and things you can do to avoid being the victim of a scam! Scammers will often pretend to be […]

Navigating Unemployment Insurance

Update: New data indicates VEC performance is still among the worst in the nation. Watch the segment on WTVR here.   Top Tips for Unemployment Claims In the best of times, navigating the Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim and appeal process can be very confusing. However, with enduring delays and challenges from the pandemic, this confusing […]

Read more