What We Do
HPRP is Maryland's only legal services and advocacy organization dedicated to eliminating homelessness. Our 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. Pursuing systemic solutions to homelessness is also a critical part of HPRP's work.
In our Community-based Legal Program, HPRP’s staff and volunteers deliver legal services through outreach in shelters, soup kitchens, welfare offices, community centers and the street. Our specific practice areas include:
Access to Public Benefits Project
HPRP represents families and individuals in appeals to obtain and preserve state disability, welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, veterans’ and other benefits. By increasing access to public benefits, people are able to access basic human needs: food, health, and adequate shelter. Greater income security also creates more economic activity in the communities where people live.
Veterans Legal Assistance Project
The Veterans Legal Assistance Project (VLAP) is a component of HPRP’s Access to Public Benefits Project. VLAP helps veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness obtain critical VA disability benefits, other federal and state disability benefits, and discharge upgrades. VLAP operates a legal clinic twice-monthly at the VA Medical Center in downtown Baltimore and rotating legal clinics in rural counties.
Homeless Youth Initiative
The Homeless Youth Initiative provides outreach, legal representation, and advocacy for and with homeless youth ages 13 to 25 who are unaccompanied by a parent or guardian in Baltimore City. The initiative operates two community-based legal clinics, one at a youth shelter and the other at a youth drop-in center. Legal representation is provided in the areas of public benefits, housing, and expungement of criminal records.
Housing Justice Project
Preventing and ending homelessness are core components of HPRP’s programs. In the Housing Justice Project, HPRP attorneys represent tenants of federally subsidized housing in court eviction proceedings and in administrative hearings with the Housing Authority of Baltimore City to prevent homelessness. For persons already homeless, HPRP attorneys represent families and individuals in their attempts to access or preserve shelter and housing.
Reducing Barriers to Housing and Employment Imposed by Criminal Records Project
HPRP attorneys and volunteers represent homeless people in proceedings to expunge records of charges that result in non-convictions or convictions for nuisance offenses, advocate for expansion of statutory eligibility for expungement, and urge housing providers and employers to provide access.