3The OrganizationHPRP was established in 1987, and separately incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in 1990, toprovide legal services to homeless individuals in Maryland and to address the systemiccauses of homelessness through impact litigation. HPRP staff and volunteers providefree legal services and advocacy
in matters that directly eliminate or preventhomelessness, for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Services includeestablishing access to and preservation of housing, access to and preservation of income,and eliminating barriers to housing and employment presented by criminal records.HPRP is guided by a profound understanding of its clients’ barriers to accessingtraditional legal services. HPRP staff and volunteer attorneys honor and accommodatethese roadblocks by directly serving clients where they live, eat and spend time. HPRPstaff and volunteers meet with clients in the community – shelters, public benefits offices,in soup kitchens, on the streets, in community groups – and in the HPRP office. Legalrepresentation has been approached holistically by working to address multiple legalneeds of each client, with the overarching goal of preventing and eliminatinghomelessness.HPRP seeks to increase the impact of its work to respond to the increased number of residents of Maryland who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. More than 95 percentof HPRP’s direct service work is pursued in Baltimore City by a staff of five attorneys(including the Director), a legal assistant, an office administrator, and a staff assistant.HPRP leverages the resources of its small staff by training volunteer attorneys,paralegals, and law students to provide legal representation and assistance to clients theymeet while conducting intake at shelters and soup kitchens. HPRP handlesapproximately 900 legal matters per year with a budget of $612,840 (FY09).The Context for Strategic PlanningIn its nearly 20 years of existence, the organization has experienced seven leadershiptransitions, the most recent one being in December 2007 when the current ExecutiveDirector assumed her position. The new Executive Director’s hiring followed aparticularly difficult period for the organization that required a change in leadership anddirection. In December 2006, HPRP initiated a thorough program evaluation to assess itsstaff leadership, operations, and functions, and to develop a plan for needed staff leadership, board, and program changes. This evaluation resulted in the adoption of aninterim management plan and the hiring of an interim executive director. In May 2007,the board retained an executive search consultant to assist in conducting a national searchfor a new executive director.
Throughout this document, the terms “direct legal services and “advocacy” are used. “Direct legalservices” refers to legal representation of an individual client on a particular legal issue that does notnecessarily have a systemic impact. “Advocacy” is defined by HPRP to mean all work aimed ateliminating the systemic causes of homelessness. This definition includes work related to bothadministrative and legislative policy and systemic impact litigation, including class actions and individualcases that promote improvements to and preserve existing public policies.