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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

Calls to VPLC’s Eviction Legal Help Line Increase 500%

Now that important tenant protections have expired, Virginia courtroom dockets are stacked with eviction filings — as rents continue to skyrocket and the federally funded rent relief program has ended. VPLC’s Eviction Legal Helpline is stretching to meet the need, as a typical week might bring more than 250 calls from desperate residents about to […]

Lonnie “Chip” D. Nunley, III Selected for Pro Bono Award

It’s been said that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. If this Mahatma Gandhi quote is true, you can bet Chip Nunley certainly knows himself inside and out. The long-serving litigator and trusted member of VPLC’s Advisory Council will receive the 2022 Lewis F. Powell, Jr. […]

Virginia’s Eviction Crisis

Since July 1, Virginia has seen nearly 16,000 new eviction cases, marking the end of the state’s rent relief program and the expiration of temporary legal protections provided to tenants during COVID-19. In that time there have been more than 1,800 calls to VPLC’s Eviction Legal Helpline. That’s far more than the staff and volunteer […]

Grant Aims to Improve Access to Justice

VPLC is the recipient of a $32,500 grant from the Virginia Law Foundation. Funds will be used to host the 2022 Annual Statewide Legal Aid Conference. The education and training event is known as one of the best civil poverty-law conferences in the U.S. VLF grants awarded to two dozen organizations increase access to legal […]

Final Settlement in Class Action Suit Pays Hundreds of Millions from Illegal Internet Lending Schemes

Gibbs v. Elevate, Gibbs v. Stinson, Brice v. Stinson The US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia this week approved a settlement in the last of nine class action lawsuits against entities that sought to evade state and federal law by making extremely high-interest internet loans in Virginia and other states. The August […]

Hundreds of Richmond Renters Get a Crash Course on Legal Rights

A Community Education and Engagement Specialist with VPLC’s Housing Advocacy team recently learned of emerging problems at the Pointe at River City apartment complex in Eastern Henrico County. After hearing about some of the issues facing tenants, the advocacy team spent a Friday afternoon combing through records at Henrico General District court. They discovered that more […]

Federal and State Lawsuits Fight ‘Slumlord’ Operating in Virginia

The Virginia Poverty Law Center, Consumer Litigation Associates and Kelly Guzzo have filed federal and state lawsuits on behalf of tenants of the Seaview Apartments in Newport News. The lawsuits name Seaview Apartments LLC and Ben Weinstein and his New Jersey-based company Blue Rise Group as defendants. Fifty-eight tenants are prosecuting their claims under the […]

Virginia Poverty Law Center Expands Outreach

New Team Members Help Break Down Barriers to Justice  RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC) welcomes two new Outreach Coordinators, a new LA VIDA Program Paralegal, a new Communications Director and, a new Office and Finance Manager to the team. Fresh off the heels of landmark wins against the Virginia Employment Commission […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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