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2021 — VLA in the Media

December 20, 2021: Health care advocates look to lawmakers for help with medical debt | Vermont Public Radio (

VPR mentioned Mike Fisher, chief health care advocate:

Mike Fisher says high-deductible health insurance plans have left many Vermonters in serious medical debt. Fisher will soon ask lawmakers to approve legislation that would forgive a larger percentage of the unpaid medical bills of low-income patients.

The article also tells the story of a man, Rick McDowell, who ended up with high medical debt. Fisher says, “The unforgiven debt, however, can drag down the finances and credit scores of Vermonters like McDowell”.

December 15, 2021: Sandra Paritz: Why housing still isn’t considered a human right - VTDigger

VT Digger published an op-ed by VLA attorney Sandra Paritz:

“Vermont’s efforts to house all who were homeless during the pandemic allowed us to have one of the lowest infection rates before vaccines became available. Numerous studies show that housing is essential to health, and that homelessness causes and exacerbates trauma, mental illness, chronic health conditions and substance use disorders…We have the tools to address these problems. It is time for the law to reflect what we now know to be true — that housing for all must be recognized as a basic human right.”

December 15, 2021: ‘I was barely making ends meet already and worrying about garnishment from your check—it’s scary.’ How post-judgment interest became the new debt collection battleground - MarketWatch

Market Watch article mentions attorney Jean Murray:

Murray recounts a difficult time when she lobbied to lower the post-judgement interest rate in 2017 but was unsuccessful. She also tried to help a client who had been struggling with out-of-control debt. Unfortunately, the client passed away before Murray could complete her representation. The client didn’t seek medical treatment because she was terrified of taking on further debt.

December 8, 2021: State Scrutinizes Investors' Bid to Take Over Five Vermont Nursing Homes | Business | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice (

Seven Days VT article mentioned Sean Londergan of Vt. Long-Term Care Ombudsman Project:

Vermont officials appear skeptical of an application from a group of New York men who want to buy five of the state's largest nursing homes. At stake is nearly 20 percent of all nursing home beds in Vermont, spread across some of the state's most troubled facilities. These five homes involved in the transfer were ranked “below average” or “much below average” on federal quality scorecards.

Londergan in an October 1 letter to Human Secretary Smith's office: "Given the quality data provided to the state wrote that, "[VOP] is concerned that there will [be] no improvement in the quality of care for residents if the Applicants were to assume ownership of the five facilities" … “It's ‘unclear’ whether the ownership change would be in the best interest of residents”.

December 1, 2021: Vermont Legal Aid sues on behalf of Vermonters denied jobless benefits - VTDigger

VT Digger article mentioned VLA attorney Kelli Kazmarski:

Kazmarski says, “These delays are violating not only state law, but also Vermonters’ due process rights. People are waiting months and months without benefits just to be heard before these errors can be corrected. That’s simply unacceptable”.

This topic was also reported by the Burlington Free Press: Vermont Department of Labor sued for delaying unemployment appeals (

This topic was also reported by VPR: News roundup: Vt. Health Dept. reports all-time highest COVID positivity rate, case count | Vermont Public Radio (

This topic was also reported by VT Digger: Vermont Legal Aid sues on behalf of Vermonters denied jobless benefits - VTDigger

This article was also reported by My NBC News 5: 'Huge hardship': Vermonters denied jobless benefits wait months to appeal (

This topic was also reported by the Rutland Herald: Vermont Department of Labor sued over unemployment appeals backlog | News |

This topic was also reported by Times Argus: Vermont Department of Labor sued over unemployment appeals backlog | News |

This topic was also reported by the Eagle Times: Vermont Department of Labor sued over unemployment appeals backlog | News |

December 1, 2021: Housing advocates launch push for state approval of Burlington just-cause eviction ordinance (

My Champlain Valley article mentioned paralegal Devon Ayers:

A group of advocates have begun lobbying state lawmakers to approve a change to Burlington’s charter that requires landlords in the city to provide just cause for residential evictions. According to VLA, at least 20% of eviction cases in Chittenden County are filed without cause. Ayers says, “the percentage is higher in other areas of the state, such as Lamoille County and Windsor County” … “This year, we have seen no cause as grounds for eviction 50% of the time”.

This article was also reported by 22 News WWLP: Advocates lobby lawmakers to approve Burlington’s just-cause eviction ordinance | WWLP

December 1, 2021: Attorney Emily Kenyon Returns to Vermont to Represent Low-Wage Workers | Economy | Seven Days

Seven Days article mentioned attorney Emily Kenyon:

Emily Kenyon has been a huge impact at Vermont Legal Aid and to Vermonters since her hire. She is focusing on helping unemployed Vermonters, a “domain” that the Poverty Law Project doesn’t usually handle. “I’ve always known I’ve wanted to have a career helping people in some way”, she says. A client comments, "Emily was really wonderful … I don't think I would have been in such a position right now if it wasn't for her helping me."

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