Vermont Legal Aid Advocacy in Overdrive During COVID-19 Crisis

From the first moments of the COVID-19 emergency, Vermont Legal Aid has been quick to advocate for Vermonters by making requests to state officials and legislators — in addition to giving legal help to Vermonters.

Some recent work has included:
  • Helping Vermonters access new financial assistance such as the Rental Housing Stabilization Program and the Vermont COVID Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program
  • Successfully lobbying for a moratorium on utility shutoffs (electric, gas and phones)
  • Pushing for a statewide moratorium on evictions
  • Advocating for low-income and vulnerable Vermonters in the Vermont courts
  • Tracking down Vermonters who were about to be removed from their homes during this health crisis and filing motions to postpone their writs of possession
  • Lobbying for increases in food benefits for families having a harder time putting meals on the table
  • Advising and representing those who are denied unemployment compensation
  • Working to make health insurance more accessible to all by helping Vermonters take advantage of the special enrollment period on Vermont Health Connect, and focusing on decreasing the cost of COVID-19 related care
  • Advocating to assure that Vermonters with intellectual and developmental disabilities have equal access to life-sustaining treatment and are not discriminated against based on their disability
  • Promoting the rights of people getting long-term care services
  • Advocating for rule changes that allow low-income and vulnerable people to continue to access benefits and services during the emergency order
  • Making recommendations to protect the education rights of students with disabilities as remote education is implemented
  • Identifying and communicating the most urgent needs within the Developmental Services system
  • Advocating the use federal funds to promote fair, inclusive housing even during the crisis
  • Advocating to assure that residents of Vermont’s residential care homes are able to stay safely in their homes throughout the pandemic
  • Urging state housing policymakers to ensure housing stimulus money goes to the poorest and most vulnerable Vermonters
  • Advocating in the legislature for low-income and vulnerable people
  • Advocating for CARES Act funding to be devoted to the needs of low-income and vulnerable people
  • Outreach and education about COVID-19 changes to the law and rules
  • Summarizing new laws, rules, benefits, financial help and procedures on a dedicated COVID-19 page at https://vtlawhelp.org/coronavirus-updates
Things are moving quickly and Vermont Legal Aid and Legal Services Vermont are working hard to support the well-being of low-income and vulnerable Vermonters.