Vermont Legal Aid

Vermont Legal Aid is where individuals and families turn when they face a civil legal problem that threatens their rights, shelter, job, health or well-being.

Through our work that spans seven broadprojects, we strive to advance fairness and justice in the civil legal system, address the social and economic interests of our clients, and confront the underlying causes of poverty, discrimination and inequality.

providing legal information and advice, forms and other helpful tools

testifying before the legislature or administrative committees and boards about how laws or rules impact Vermonters everyday

advocating for new protections or the enforcement of those that already exist, and

identifying and working to correct systemic problems that adversely affect vulnerable people

We are committed to beingaccessible and welcomingto all.

Vermont Legal Aid joins with legal services organizations across the country to speak out against racially biased policing and in favor of justice for all of Vermonts diverse communities – and to affirm that Black Lives Matter.

Old criminal records prevent many Vermonters from obtaining jobs, housing or educational opportunities.

If you have a past criminal conviction, or a charge that has been dismissed, you may want to figure out whether you can expunge your criminal record. Through the expungement process, the State of Vermont allows for specific convictions and dismissed charges to be wiped from your record after a certain amount of time has passed. There are a couple of different sealing or expungement laws, and the requirements are a bit different for each.

The Green Mountain Care Board is reviewing proposed health insurance premium price increases for individual and small employer plans including Vermont Health Connect plans. (Small employers have less than 100 employees.) These plans cover nearly 80,000 Vermonters.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont is asking to increase premium prices by 7.5%, on average, for 2019. MVP Health Care is asking to increase premium prices by 10.9% on average. The price increases vary by plan.

Renters at Risk: The Cost of Substandard Housing

Despite regulations intended to protect them from substandard housing conditions, many Vermont tenants still live in unsafe and unhealthy homes. Today, Vermont Legal Aid released a report, Renters at Risk: The Cost of Substandard Housing, to examine the problem and call for policy solutions to address substandard housing.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has renewed funding for Vermont Legal Aids (VLAs) Housing Discrimination Law Project (HDLP). The $300,000 grant enables Legal Aid to conduct fair housing investigations and representation throughout Vermont. Under its current three-year fair housing grant, VLA has helped more than 250 people complaining of housing discrimination and carried out more than 150 fair housing investigations in several Vermont communities, also commenting on nine separate zoning and planning projects around the state that had potentially adverse impacts on groups protected by fair housing laws.

We are very pleased to learn that Legal Aid will continue to be active in the efforts to ensure that all persons have equal access to housing in Vermont. Fair housing is a fundamental civil right, said Karen Richards, Executive Director of the Vermont Human Rights Commission.

I was so happy when I won and got to keep my dog, I was almost in tears, said Jerry Tallman, who Legal Aid represented in getting a reasonable accommodation. If anyone else is in my shoes, Im glad there is an answer for them, that they can call and get help like I did.

Our fair housing testing and calls to us indicate that Vermont is struggling to accept its increasing diversity, said Rachel Batterson, Project Director of Vermont Legal Aids Housing Discrimination Law Project. Vermonts low vacancy rate and the right to evict for no reason exacerbate the problem. Housing discrimination hits Vermonters with children, people of color, New Americans, and people with disabilities particularly hard.

Every person deserves a fair chance to live in a neighborhood free from discrimination, said HUD Secretary Ben Carson in HUDs January 23 press release. The funds announced today will allow our fair housing partners on the ground to combat housing discrimination and ensure every person has equal access to housing.

Fair housing is central to sustainable, successful communities, said Joshua Hanford, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Housing and Community Development. Were glad that Legal Aid will continue to work on equal access for all Vermonters.

Ensuring that people are treated fairly is central to Vermont Legal Aids mission, said Vermont Legal Aid Executive Director Eric Avildsen. Nobody should be denied equal access to housing, simply because of their race, ethnicity, disability, or having children. This new HUD grant enables us to continue to represent Vermonters who are discriminated against and improves the enforcement of fair housing laws generally.

For more information about fair housing law, visit For more information about HUDs Fair Housing programs, see HUDs full press release at