Strategic Plan 2015 - 2020
Current State of Homelessness in Maryland and in Baltimore City
Maryland is the 4th most expensive state in the nation and also one of only four states with a housing wage above $21 an hour. In the Baltimore region, a family renting a two bedroom apartment would have to earn wages equal to at least $24.08 per hour to afford the apartment. Currently, one in four Baltimore residents live at or below the poverty level and homelessness has not declined in the City in five years.
Indeed, the January 2013 Baltimore City Census identified 2,638 people experiencing homelessness, a slight increase over the 2007 Census, which identified 2,607 homeless people.
Homelessness amongst youth between the ages of 13 and 25 is increasing in Baltimore City. A report issued in 2011 by the Center for Adolescent Health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health found 1,784 unduplicated homeless youth, including 640 youth who were unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. The 640 unaccompanied homeless youth represented a 50 percent increase in the number of unaccompanied homeless youth in Baltimore since the previous count in January 2009. Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties have each conducted one count of homeless youth. Both counties identified nearly 200 unaccompanied homeless youth within their borders.
Baltimore City has and continues to have the highest number of homeless people in the state. Montgomery County has the second highest number, followed by Baltimore County, the southern Maryland tri-county region (Charles, St. Mary’s, and Calvert) and Prince George’s County. In the rural counties, homeless veterans comprise a far greater percentage than the statewide average of approximately 8 percent. Indeed, in the Harford/Cecil County areas, veterans comprise 22 percent of the homeless population.
HPRP was established in 1987, and separately incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) in 1990, to provide legal services to homeless individuals in Maryland and to address the systemic causes of homelessness through impact litigation and policy advocacy. HPRP staff and volunteers provide free legal services, including advice, counsel, education, representation and advocacy, for low-income persons who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
HPRP’s staff and volunteers deliver legal services through outreach in shelters, soup kitchens, welfare offices, community centers and the street. The organization operates four legal clinics in off-site locations in Baltimore City, one intake site in Silver Spring, Montgomery County, and is currently in the process of adding three legal clinics in rural counties for homeless veterans only through the work of an Equal Justice Works Fellow. HPRP also staffs one-off Homeless Resource Days in Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, and Montgomery Counties to serve clients outside of Baltimore City. HPRP’s areas of legal representation are targeted at the primary causes and solutions to homelessness – housing and income. Specifically, HPRP assists in the areas of subsidized housing, public benefits including veterans’ benefits, and eliminating barriers to employment by expunging criminal records. HPRP operates a considerable pro bono program with over 350 volunteer law students, paralegals, and attorneys who support the organization’s off-site intake centers and represent over 60 percent of HPRP’s clients. In FY 2014, HPRP handled over 1,000 legal matters.
HPRP collaborates closely with other legal and non-legal non-profit programs. It maintains a strong partnership with statewide legal services providers such as the Pro Bono Resource Center, Legal Aid, and the Maryland Volunteer Lawyer’s Service. In addition, HPRP trains other legal services organizations’ staff on veterans and expungement matters and has provided that training to volunteer lawyers in Anne Arundel County and the mid-shore region for other legal programs.
HPRP engages in a variety of advocacy initiatives from government agency advocacy, state and local legislative initiatives, to statewide systemic litigation. The organization has filed several statewide cases primarily enforcing rights to safety net programs that provide food, health insurance, and disability benefits to persons who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. HPRP’s legislative policy work is conducted exclusively in coalition with other organizations and the organization has succeeded in leading or supporting efforts to pass legislation related to homeless youth, housing rights, expungement, and to defeat cuts to safety net programs and laws that would criminalize homelessness. HPRP’s government agency advocacy work is primarily directed to state or Baltimore City agencies. HPRP does not have any staff permanently dedicated to policy work.
In FY 2014, the organization’s budget was just under $900,000, nearly double the budget five years ago. All fundraising is conducted by either the Executive Director with support from an Office Administrator or the Board, which operates a successful corporate fundraising drive each year. The organization does not have dedicated development staff.
The organization has launched efforts to raise the profile of solutions to homelessness and its own visibility. It launched a Speaker Series on the Importance of Housing that has drawn nationally recognized speakers to discuss housing as the primary solution to homelessness and has published two white papers on housing. In the last two years, HPRP added a part-time communications director to raise the profile of the organization and housing and homelessness in traditional and social media outlets.
The Context for Strategic Planning
HPRP is an effective and well respected provider of direct legal services and advocacy to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Under the direction of Executive Director Antonia Fasanelli, the organization was successful in executing its last strategic plan, which provided a roadmap to:
- Raise new money to enhance stability and growth of organizational finances
- Pursue growth of the pro bono program
- Focus legal services and staff resources to improve effectiveness
- Strengthen collaborations and strategic partnerships to achieve leverage
- Increase visibility and raised awareness about homelessness on local, state and national levels
The successful execution of the Strategic Plan 2009 – 2014 has left HPRP on solid footing to execute the new 2015 - 2020 Strategic Plan, as summarized below:
HPRP’s mission is to end homelessness in Maryland by providing free legal services, including advice, counsel, education, representation and advocacy, for low-income persons who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Our staff and volunteers pursue this mission by offering legal services through outreach in shelters, soup kitchens, welfare offices, community centers and on the street. Our direct representation informs broader-based systemic advocacy and impact litigation to address the root causes of homelessness.
HPRP envisions an end to homelessness in Maryland.
Goals and Strategies 2015 - 2020
Increase capacity to provide direct legal representation to more persons who are at risk of homelessness or homeless with consideration to advancing solutions to ending homelessness.
Goal 1: To support HPRP’s geographic growth and allow for infrastructure improvements, HPRP will increase financial resources to support an operating budget of $1.5 million and raise $1 million for the Legacy Fund.
- Hire a consultant to create a development and fundraising strategy and to help assess infrastructure, resources and staff needed to sustain that effort.
- Hire Development Director to support the Executive Director in implementing the development and fundraising strategy.
- Continue to grow Annual Campaign to End Homelessness by increasing the number of new corporate, law firm, and individual donors and seeking increased donations from current donors.
- Increase fundraising from the business, legal, and foundation communities in the DC-metro area.
- Implement annual work plans for board members to support fundraising targets and communications efforts.
- Enhance tracking of outcomes of direct legal services cases in order to capture the impact of direct legal services work on our clients’ lives.
Goal 2: Strengthen HPRP’s capacity to serve clients in the Baltimore region in a manner that reflects the needs and diversity of HPRP’s client population.
- Develop a funding strategy that either reduces or eliminates the amount of funding HPRP receives from sources that restrict the types of legal services funded.
- Hire additional staff, including a staff attorney and a paralegal.
- Continue to build the pro bono program to benefit our clients.
- Engage in strategic partnerships to strengthen HPRP’s ability to connect clients to legal and non-legal resources needed to meet needs not addressed by HPRP’s services.
- Recruit and retain staff and board members who reflect the diversity of our clients
Goal 3: Establish a program that responds to the legal needs of homeless persons and persons at risk of becoming homeless in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.
- Conduct a study of legal and advocacy needs in Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties.
- Research staffing and program models to serve Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties.
- Raise funds to support establishing an increased presence in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.
- Establish local partnerships with law firms, pro bono volunteers and legal and non-legal service providers.
- Create a visibility/marketing plan for HPRP’s expanded presence.
Build capacity as a prominent and respected statewide advocacy organization that advances solutions to end homelessness.
Goal 1: Initiate and participate in strategic advocacy campaigns to end homelessness.
- Obtain unrestricted funds to support advocacy efforts.
- Identify champions in the community as partners for strategic advocacy campaigns.
- Integrate communications in strategic advocacy campaigns.
- Hire a Director of Policy to focus on advocacy campaigns to end homelessness and support other advocacy and policy initiatives of HPRP.
- Continue the current model of supporting staff in working on advocacy and policy issues relevant to their practice area.
- Maintain Linda Kennedy Fellowship in Advocacy and provide other advocacy internship opportunities as needed.
Goal 2: Use communications to build support for solutions to end homelessness, raise awareness about homelessness and promote the work of HPRP.
- Develop a communications strategy that is inclusive of HPRP’s client community.
- Leverage a range of communications tools, including traditional and social media, to communicate about advocacy and legal representation successes.
- Link communications focus, message and content to HPRP’s strategic advocacy campaigns.
- Effectively use the HPRP website as a tool to support communications, advocacy and fundraising.
 Throughout this document, the terms “direct legal services” and “advocacy” are used. “Direct legal services” refers to legal representation of an individual client on a particular legal issue that does not necessarily have a direct impact. “Advocacy” is defined by HPRP to mean all work aimed at eliminating the systemic causes of homelessness. This definition includes work related to both administrative and legislative policy and systemic impact litigation, including class actions and individual cases that promote improvements to and preserve existing public policies.
 In the fall of 2014, HPRP launched the Rural Veterans’ Legal Assistance Project. This project is a notable exception to its work outside of Baltimore and the organization remains committed to this project throughout the course of the planning timeline.
 These funds are in addition to those targeted in Goal 1.