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 […]

VPLC Issues to Watch: Housing Affordability & Stability

VPLC supports legislative changes that address the rental housing crisis and strengthen housing stability, including: a significant increase to the Virginia Eviction Reduction Fund to enable more localities to receive funding. VERP funds local emergency rental assistance and other local programs to prevent evictions.​ establish and fund the Virginia Housing Stability Fund to provide long-term […]

Don’t Forget Legal Aid on Giving Tuesday

Did you know that Virginia Poverty Law Center was founded in 1978 as the Virginia State Legal Aid Society Support Center (VSLASSC)? The VSLASSC, or the “Big Pickle” as we were affectionally known, was created to help train and educate Virginia legal aid organizations on civil poverty law issues. For 44 years, VPLC has been […]

Open enrollment for the health insurance marketplace begins. Let’s ENROLL VIRGINIA Nov.1 – Jan. 15!

Enroll Virginia’s statewide team of navigators is hard at work preparing for Open Enrollment, scheduling free one-on-one appointments and outreach events to guide consumers through the health insurance enrollment process. Open Enrollment at HealthCare.gov runs from November 1, 2022 through January 15, 2022. This is the only time of year that anyone can enroll in […]

A Time to Recharge: 2022 Annual Statewide Legal Conference

More than 500 attorneys and staff members from Virginia’s legal aid community joined with pro bono attorneys and our community partners to attend the 42nd Annual Statewide Conference, hosted by Virginia Poverty Law Center. The hybrid conference offered both in-person attendance in Virginia Beach, as well as online-only sessions.  It’s four very busy days, jam-packed with […]

VPLC’s Bar Stars Join Fight for Justice

Congratulations to VPLC’s newest attorneys, Anna Daniszewski and Flannery O’Rourke, who passed the Virginia State Bar exam. Daniszewski received her Juris Doctor degree from New York University School of Law and works in VPLC’s Center for Family Advocacy as a Family Defense Fellow. O’Rourke graduated from the University of Richmond School of Law and is […]

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 […]

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. […]

Meet Anna Daniszewski, Family Defense Fellow

New to VPLC’s Center for Family Advocacy, Anna Daniszewski will help ensure that parents involved in Virginia’s child welfare system have zealous lawyers fighting for their families.  Daniszewski’s fellowship includes legislative and policy advocacy, providing legal services to parents, and developing trainings, practice protocols, and accountability standards. “Too often, children and parents are needlessly separated […]

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 […]

Meet Our New VPLC Team Members

Flannery O’Rourke has joined VPLC as a Law & Policy Analyst. She will support legislative efforts within our Center for Healthy Communities in the areas of unemployment benefits and social security. She recently received her Juris Doctor degree from University of Richmond. Miranda Huffer is the newest member of the Development team. After a successful […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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