Statement on Coronavirus Pandemic
All Legal Aid Justice Center offices are currently closed to walk-in visitors. If you need assistance please contact us via phone or email. Click here for contact information.
STATEMENT FROM THE LEGAL AID JUSTICE CENTER ON PROTECTING OUR COMMUNITIES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
In light of current actions taking place in Virginia due to the coronavirus pandemic, we must ensure that low-income residents of our Commonwealth do not shoulder increased risk, bear extra burdens, experience discrimination, or get left out of supportive measures.
Without a state mandate for paid sick leave, many low-income residents cannot afford to take time off work to self-isolate or care for others without risking losing their homes to eviction or seeing their utilities shut off. More than 500,000 children statewide rely on free or reduced-price school meals to maintain nutrition, and families may be unable to access the technology needed to access virtual instruction. Adults and youth held in Virginia’s prisons, jails, and detention centers are particularly vulnerable to the spread of disease and deserve to be protected with adequate sanitation and medical care or, if possible, be released. Immigrant and undocumented community members need equal access to any relief programs and should not be forced to avoid seeking medical treatment due to their status and fear of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This is just the beginning of a long list of issues that our clients and communities face every day, but with the rise of this statewide emergency, the need for immediate action is even more acute.
State and local officials should move swiftly to implement measures to protect all Virginians, with special care to ensure that every person in the Commonwealth gets the message and that no one, regardless of income, location, or immigration status, is left out. They must work with advocacy organizations and community groups who are on the ground identifying the needs of Virginians facing huge and possibly life-threatening obstacles in this time of crisis
While all Legal Aid Justice Center offices may be closed to walk-in traffic for the time being (though we can be reached by phone and email) our lawyers, organizers, and advocates are actively working with partners across the state to help protect our communities.