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 […]

If Children Are the Future, We Should Start Acting Like It. 

While June, Family Reunification Month in Virginia and nationwide, has come to a close, its core commitment to doing what’s best for children’s development is a year-long pursuit.   Children separated from their families and placed in foster care are more likely to struggle as adults. Across Virginia and the United States, children are taken away […]

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 […]

Save Children, Save Money: Support Improved Compensation for Attorneys for Low-Income Parents

SUPPORT Budget Amendment 44 #2s (Edwards): High-quality family legal representation has been proven to improve outcomes for children in foster care – without compromising safety.  Virginia pays court-appointed counsel for parents at the lowest rate of any state: there hasn’t been a raise in 23 years.  Judges say they can’t even find lawyers to take these cases; […]

2023 Budget Amendments: Tell the Virginia General Assembly that Vulnerable Virginians Need Medical Coverage

VPLC encourages Virginians to contact lawmakers and ask them to support Senate Budget Amendment item 308 #16s and House Budget Amendment item 304 #12h.   These proposals are not an expansion of Medicaid eligibility. They simply eliminate unnecessary and burdensome processes, benefiting both administrators and consumers.  Senate Finance & Appropriations Committee/ Health & Human Resources […]

FACT SHEET: Increase SNAP Minimum Benefit for Seniors

Senate Item 341 #1s & House Item 346 #2h | NGF $1.1M; GF $20.4   Increase the minimum amount of SNAP benefits available to eligible individuals 60+ years of age from $23 to $48/month. This will help to offset the impact of the end of pandemic-related SNAP allotments and the impact of escalating food prices for […]

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 […]

2023 Budget Amendments: Support these Investments in Affordable Housing

Item 114 #12h (Delegate McQuinn)/Item 114 #27h (Delegate Coyner)/Item 114 #7s (Senator Locke)/Item 114 #9s (Senator McClellan): $90.1M to establish and fund the Virginia Housing Stability Fund 3-year pilot program that will provide long-term rental assistance to low-income households. Will provide assistance to 5,000 rent burdened households with incomes at or below 50% Area Median […]

2023 Budget Amendments: Support these Studies & Model Policies

Item 114 #36h (Delegate Carr)/Item 118 #1s (Senator Ebbin): $500,000 ($200,000) for DHCD to conduct a comprehensive statewide housing needs assessment every five years. By regularly assessing Virginia’s housing needs, the Commonwealth will be well equipped to develop a statewide plan to meet the demand for housing.   Item 114 #1h (Delegate Maldonado)/Item 163 #1s […]

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 […]

FACT SHEET: Don’t Expand Low Quality Health Insurance Plans

Vote No on SB 1285 – Expanding Catastrophic Health Plans Vote No on SB 1336 – Expanding Short Term Limited Duration Plans Short Term Limited Duration (STLD) Plans Lack important consumer protections leading to higher, unexpected costs. They can: Charge more based on a pre-existing condition or gender, Cap what they pay for services, exposing […]

FACT SHEET: Protect Virginia’s Vulnerable Children

VPLC Opposes HB 1493  HB 1493 is the exact same bill brought before this subcommittee last year (where the vote was 6-1 to lay it on the table). This is the fifth year in a row I oppose this bill or a version of it. HB 1493 diminishes the “Best Interests of the Child” factors […]

FACT SHEET: Allow Localities to Enact Rent Stabilization

Support HB1532 (Delegate Clark)/SB1278 (Senator Boysko)  Rents are on the rise:  Average rents in Virginia have increased over 10% in the past year and have risen even more drastically in certain localities. Rents in Henrico, Chesterfield, Spotsylvania, Hampton, Virginia Beach, and Bedford County increased 20%! Such severe increases in rent leads to unnecessary cost burdens […]

FACT SHEET: Make the Rental Application Process More Transparent

Support HB1651(Price) The Problem: A hidden aspect the housing affordability crisis is the cost on tenants applying for rental housing. Despite widespread use of tenant screening reports, there is no uniform screening criteria, which leaves tenants guessing whether they will qualify for a rental. Different landlords have varying rules about acceptable criminal records. While one […]

FACT SHEET: Community Enforcement of Health & Safety Rental Housing Laws

Support HB1650 (Delegate Price)    The Problem: There are apartment complexes in Virginia in such deplorable condition it’s unsafe to live there. Usually, tenants living in these deplorable conditions lack the means to enforce their rights to require their landlords to make necessary repairs. They don’t have access to attorneys, and they lack funds to […]

FACT SHEET: Help Tenants Avoid Having to Pay Unaffordable Rents

Support HB1702 (Maldonado) Tenants need clear notice of rent increases in time to find other housing  The Problem: Many residential leases contain automatic renewal provisions under which the lease renews for the original lease term (usually 12 months) if neither tenant nor landlord provides notice to the other of an intent to not renew the […]

FACT SHEET: Payment Plan for Tenants Behind One Month’s Rent

Support HB1732 (Delegate Bennett-Parker)   The Problem: All too often, families are evicted for relatively small amounts of unpaid rent that grow into large sums because of court costs and attorney’s fees. These evictions serve neither tenant nor landlord, as landlords incur extra expenses and work to first pursue an eviction in court and then […]

FACT SHEET: Give Families Time to Pay Rent & Stay Housed

Support HB1652 (Delegate Price)/SB (Senator McClellan)   The Problem: All too often, families are evicted for relatively small amounts of unpaid rent that grow into large sums because of court costs and attorney’s fees. These evictions serve neither tenant nor landlord, as landlords incur extra expenses and work to first pursue an eviction in court […]

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