Impact of the Homeless Persons Representation Project

The Homeless Persons Representation Project (HPRP) uses the law to achieve an end to homelessness in Maryland.
Targeted Legal Services

What is Unique About HPRP?

HPRP is the only legal services program in Maryland that works to end homelessness. HPRP is not a general legal services provider; HPRP targets its legal work on issues that will directly prevent or eliminate homelessness.

Community-based Approach
HPRP staff and volunteers conduct outreach and meet with people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in shelters, soup kitchens, community-based associations and on the street to provide legal representation.

Education and Advocacy
HPRP staff conduct forums in the community for clients, service providers and others on legal issues confronting people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. HPRP staff address systemic hurdles to ending homelessness, including improving government services, programs and laws, with knowledge derived from client experiences.

HPRP Programs
Our staff and volunteers target legal services on issues that will directly assist someone in moving from homelessness into housing or in keeping the housing they need. These are examples of some of HPRP’s programs: Helping Homeless Veterans: In 2008, HPRP created Maryland’s only free legal services program to help veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness obtain service-connected disability benefits. HPRP makes a difference: An HPRP volunteer attorney represented a veteran of the Marine Corps who was terminally ill with lung cancer. The VA previously denied the veteran’s claim that his lung cancer was due to asbestos exposure in service, but with the help of his volunteer attorney, the veteran was able to meet with doctors who could properly trace the origin of the exposure. The veteran now receives almost $3,000 in disability benefits and received a large retroactive award, ensuring that he will have stable housing for the remainder of his life. Preventing homelessness by stopping unlawful eviction: HPRP provides legal representation to some of the most vulnerable persons in our community. When HPRP’s clients obtain housing, it often means the end of years of homelessness due to mental illness and other disabilities. Unfortunately, because HPRP’s clients are so vulnerable, they sometimes fall victim to unscrupulous landlords. HPRP makes a difference: HPRP successfully prevented the wrongful eviction of its client, Mr. O*. Mr. O lived in permanent supportive housing successfully through Baltimore City’s Housing First program, which is supported by Housing Choice Vouchers. Homeless for many years because of mental illness, Mr. O blossomed in housing with regular case management. Last year, however, Mr. O’s landlord stopped making repairs in his building and as a result, the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC), which operates the Voucher program, stopped making payments to the landlord. In clear violation of federal law, the landlord sued to evict Mr. O for nonpayment of HABC’s portion of the rent. An HPRP Attorney represented Mr. O and was immediately able to get his case dismissed. The landlord then agreed to make the repairs and Mr. O was able to stay in his home. Housing Homeless Families: Although homelessness among families has increased in recent years, the number of shelter spaces available for homeless families in Maryland has actually decreased. In Maryland, 38% of homeless families live on the street – the 7th highest rate in the country. HPRP represents homeless families in their efforts to move out of shelters and into permanent housing. HPRP makes a difference: While conducting a “Know Your Rights” presentation to homeless families at a Baltimore City homeless shelter, an HPRP Attorney met Ms. S. Ms. S. was living in the shelter with her two minor children because the housing she thought was available fell through. After learning that Ms. S was a veteran, her HPRP attorney immediately connected her to VA homeless services and soon after she received a veteran’s voucher. Today Ms. S lives in stable, permanent housing with her children.

*Client names have been changed to protect confidentiality.

Who is HPRP?
HPRP has a staff of 8 attorneys who work with over 430 volunteer attorneys, paralegals and law students to provide legal services, education and advocacy to prevent and eliminate homelessness. HPRP handles about 800 client matters each year.

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