October 6, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Maryland Legal Services Organizations Receive $1.3 Million Grant to Help Keep Low-Income Older Adults in their Homes
“Project Household” Designed to Preserve Homeownership in Baltimore City
Baltimore, Maryland- October 6, 2015 – There is a tremendous unmet need for civil legal services among Baltimore City’s seniors, particularly in the areas of housing and financial stability. To address this need, The Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Charitable Foundation awarded Maryland Legal Aid, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS), Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC) and the Bar Association of Baltimore City’s Senior Legal Services program (SLS) grants totaling $1,377,111 over three years. These grants will be used to provide legal services to preserve homeownership and sustainable housing for low income Baltimoreans age 60 and older. The four agencies launched Project Household on October 1, 2015 and the program is expected to run through September 2018.
The holistic approach among the partner agencies will focus on preserving homeownership through four primary areas, including:
- Avoiding loss of homeownership through foreclosure or tax sale
- Promoting the financial stability necessary for homeownership
- Preventing and addressing financial exploitation that can lead to the loss of homeownership
- Creating advance planning documents to ensure homes are not lost due to a lack of clear title
Project Household will fund a coordinated legal services system for seniors, including a Senior Legal Helpline, community clinics and education, legal representation throughout a case, community outreach and lawyers in the community. Project Household will also work in tandem with Housing Upgrades to Benefit Seniors (HUBS), a project which places social workers in the community to coordinate necessary repairs, weatherization and maintenance for homes owned by seniors. Project Household agencies anticipate serving more than 3,400 seniors through this project, which in turn directly strengthens the stability of communities in Baltimore City.
“This project is a perfect match for the mission and priorities of the Stulman Foundation, which supports initiatives that enable seniors to remain in their own communities and stay active in community life as they age,” said Cathy Brill, Executive Director of The Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Charitable Foundation. “By improving legal services for low-income Baltimore City seniors, these older adults can remain in their communities as homeowners and vital participants in community life. We are looking forward to the collaboration of the leading legal services organizations in Maryland.”
Baltimore City residents who are age 60 or older and need legal help should contact the Senior Legal
Helpline at (410) 951-7750.
About Maryland Legal Aid
Maryland Legal Aid, established in 1911, is a private, non-profit law firm providing free, civil legal services to low-income people statewide. Maryland Legal Aid serves Baltimore City and Maryland’s 23 counties from 12 full-service offices and handles a wide range of legal matters involving family, housing, government benefits, healthcare, elder, education, employment, and consumer law. Through a number of special projects, Maryland Legal Aid also represents children in CINA (Child in Need of Assistance) proceedings, homeowners facing foreclosure, migrant and seasonal farm workers, nursing home and assisted living residents, and veterans seeking benefits and assistance with related legal issues.
About Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS)
With a 35-year history and a mission to provide access to justice for all, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) serves Maryland’s low-income residents by offering counseling and full representation for civil legal cases. MVLS matches clients with volunteer lawyers who represent them in a wide range of consumer and family situations, including foreclosure, bankruptcy, income tax disputes, landlord/tenant disputes, denial of public benefits, wills, divorce/custody and deed changes. For more information about MVLS, visit www.mvlslaw.org.
About Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland
Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, Inc. (PBRC) is the statewide coordinator of volunteer civil legal services. PBRC’s mission is to promote equal access to justice in Maryland by coordinating and supporting volunteer civil legal services, providing resources and support for legal advocates for the poor, and promoting cooperation within the legal community. PBRC develops projects that target specific areas of vital legal need such as foreclosure and tax sale prevention, consumer protection, veterans’ legal assistance, family mediation and unaccompanied children and impacts over 800 clients annually with immediate legal assistance. For more information, please visit: www.probonomd.org.
About Senior Legal Services
Senior Legal Services (SLS) is a joint program of The Bar Association of Baltimore City and the Baltimore Bar Foundation. Founded in 1992 as Legal Services to the Elderly, SLS provides vital pro bono legal services to low-income seniors, aged 60 and over, in Baltimore City. We advise and represent clients on a broad range of civil legal matters, including estate planning, consumer and debt collection issues, landlord/tenant disputes, housing matters, foreclosure prevention, probate and guardianship. The mission of SLS is to provide quality legal services to an underserved population at risk of losing resources to empower them to age in place and thrive in their community. For more information, visit www.baltimoreseniorlegalservices.org.
About Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Charitable Foundation
The Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Charitable Foundation works to improve life in Maryland by supporting innovative work in the areas of mental health, health, and aging. Founded in 2001, the foundation makes grants to improve treatment and outcomes for people with mental illness, prevent and manage chronic disease, and enable senior citizens to age in community.
For more information:
Maryland Legal Aid
phone: (410) 951-7683
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS)
Andrea D. Martin
Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC)
Margaret Henn, Director of Housing Programs
phone: 410-837-9379 ext. 3048
Senior Legal Services
Natalie L. Grossman, Director