News Story (NATIONAL, Virginia)
Emily Badger, Quoctrung Bui
New York Times (NYT)
April 7, 2018
READ THE FULL STORY HERE
Tags: Housing: Eviction
Organizations mentioned/involved: Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, Legal Aid Justice Center (Virginia)
Inside the courtroom, cases sometimes brought in bulk by property managers are settled in minutes when defendants aren’t present.
“The whole system works on default judgments and people not showing up,” said Martin Wegbreit, director of litigation at the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society. “Imagine if every person asked for a trial. The system would bog down in a couple of months.”
The consequences of what happens here then spread across the city. The Richmond public school system reroutes buses to follow children from apartments to homeless shelters to pay-by-the-week motels. City social workers coach residents on how to fill out job applications when they have no answer for the address line. Families lose their food stamps and Medicaid benefits when they lose the permanent addresses where renewal notices are sent.