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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Eviction Defense Center helps VA renters fight eviction

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Monday, May 6, 2024   

As Virginia evictions rise, one group is helping low-income renters fight back.

Before the pandemic, evictions peaked at 16,000 in January 2020. An eviction moratorium kept renters housed during part of the pandemic but evictions are growing again.

Phil Storey, director of the Eviction Defense Center at the Virginia Poverty Law Center, said his office helps people navigate housing court.

"We wanted to provide not just information about things they can bring up to the judge to try and affect what happens but also some tools that'll help them do that without having to act as if they were experienced lawyers," Storey explained.

He added eviction laws are better for tenants, although they still give landlords an advantage. Affordable housing significantly declined in the state leaving many people unable to afford housing. The Eviction Defense Center operates on two websites. English speakers can use FightMyEviction.org and Spanish speakers can use NoDesalojo.org.

While the Eviction Defense Center is still relatively new, Storey is looking for ways to improve and build on it. He added they want to learn from the users taking advantage of the tools being offered.

"Obviously, we'll be able to go sort of peek behind the curtain and see which paths people are following through the information," Storey noted. "If some of them end up as dead ends or if people end up backing out of the decision tree, or things like that. We'll learn things about how to make that all better."

Disclosure: The Virginia Poverty Law Center contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Housing/Homelessness, Poverty Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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