CIVIL ADVOCACY PROGRAM
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The Civil Advocacy Program provides assistance to individuals and families in Central Virginia who face legal dilemmas related to housing, public benefits, employment, consumer protection, or the rights of the elderly, and engages in systematic advocacy with and on behalf of low-income people in these issue areas.
Consumer Law We advocate on behalf of disadvantaged clients who have been targeted by merchants and lenders. Our clients are people who are sold defective cars, elderly homeowners pressured into risky mortgages, and payday loan borrowers who face abusive and illegal collection practices. In addition to our client representation, Legal Aid participates in local, state, and national legal reform activities, such as the Virginia Partnership to Encourage Responsible Lending (VaPERL).
Employment Law We represent workers in disputes involving discrimination, unpaid wages, Family and Medical Leave Act, and other employment law issues, and assist them with unemployment insurance cases. We also participate in local and statewide efforts to foster increases in minimum and living wage standards, and for other policies that further workers’ rights.
Housing Law Legal Aid Justice Center provides representation to individuals in their efforts to access and maintain decent, safe, and affordable housing. The staff also represents local resident associations fighting for the preservation of affordable housing and for the rights of their fellow tenants in local housing policy. In Richmond, Legal Aid staff coordinates the Housing Unit, which engages dozens of pro bono private attorneys each year in representing tenants.
Mental Health Law We provide representation to institutionalized persons through our mental health law clinic work, and access to appropriate mental health services forms a major part of our Virginia Institutionalized Persons (VIP) project (see below.)
The Civil Advocacy Program at the Legal Aid Justice Center has many generous supporters, including Legal Services Corporation of Virginia, the University of Virginia School of Law, the Jefferson Area Board for the Aging, the Virginia Law Foundation, the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association, the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area, local governments, private foundations and individual donors.
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