HPRPs mission is to end homelessness in Maryland by providing free legal services for low-income persons who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Legal services includes advice, counsel, education, representation and advocacy.
Housing Preservation Project HPRP attorneys and volunteers represent tenants of federally subsidized housing in court evictions 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. Access to Public Benefits Project HPRP and volunteer attorneys represent families and individuals in administrative disputes to obtain and preserve state disability, welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, veterans’, and other benefits.
Encompassing all of HPRP’s pro bono programs is the deep understanding that people who are homeless often cannot access legal services in a traditional manner. To provide the most comprehensive services to HPRP’s clients, volunteer attorneys reach our clients where they live and eat. The pro bono program currently consists of two projects: criminal record expungement and veterans benefits.
Reducing Barriers to Housing andExpungement Employment Imposed By CriminalProject Records HPRP attorneys and volunteers represent homeless and low income persons in proceedings to expunge records of charges that result in non-conviction (e.g. where the prosecutor refuses to prosecute). HPRP also advocates for expansion of statutory eligibility for expungement, and urges housing providers and employers to provide access to ex-offenders.
Expungement Expungement Know YourIntake and Rights Sessions atOutreach Community Centers in Baltimore City Expungement Intakes at Community Centers in Baltimore City and Montgomery County, MD
Law student volunteers conduct intake for those interested in getting criminal record expungements at local community centers.Our Baltimore City intake sessions currently take place at: Our Daily Bread, located at 725 Fallsway Baltimore, MD 21202 Franciscan Center, located at 101 W. 23rd St. Baltimore, MD 21218 A Westside location to be determined in the near future.Our Montgomery County intake sessions take place at Shepherd’s Table, located at 8210 Dixon Ave. Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Upcoming Our Daily Bread:Intakes October 1, 2012 We take the first 20 people to sign in at 3:00pm. The intake starts at 4:00pm. Franciscan Center: October 5, 2012 We schedule appointments for this site. Please contact Christina Askins, Legal Clinic Coordinator at 410-685-6589, ext. 18 for more information. No walk-ins are accepted on this date. Shepherd’s Table (Montgomery County) September 5, 2012 We see the first 10 people to sign in at 6:00pm.
Step 1: Sign-in Step 2: Brief overview of process Step 3: Intake by law student Step 4: Issued check to get fingerprint record at CJIS
CJIS record comes to HPRP’s office Katie makes an assessment of client’s eligibility If client is eligible, we assign case to a volunteer attorney in our pro bono program If client is ineligible, we let client know why and give information on pardon process, out of state resources (if applicable), or give referral to Public Defender if client has pending matter that precludes expungement at this time
If eligible, client will meet If there are no objections with a pro bono attorney from the state’s attorney, we can expect an order at the center where he or granting the expungement she came through intake from the court within a process. couple of months. At the meeting, client Once the court order is issued, it can take several signs paperwork months for all of the (expungement petitions) certificates of compliance to be filed with the court. to be received. We look for compliance letters from the court, police department and CJIS.
We see around 300 clients for expungement a year. Out of those 300, around 75% have one or more charges that are eligible for expungement. Our follow-up with clients who have obtained expungement indicates that a significant number are finding employment between 2 and 10 months after the expungement has been granted. However, many of our clients remain unemployed because of the restrictions imposed by current expungement law.
HAS GETTING YOUR RECORDS EXPUNGED HELPED YOU SECURE EMPLOYMENT? “I was able to get a job because of my record being cleared. HPRP saved my life.” “It has given me the feeling that I can start over. I am working on furthering my education so I can get a job.” “Has helped; I am able to get small jobs, and am willing to do anything legal. Lately, I’ve been cutting grass and doing paint jobs. All of the energy that I used to put into ‘getting high’ is now used on working and trying to find work.” “ Most definitely, has helped clear my record for about a five year period.” “Yes, I just had an interview today and think that it went well!” HAS THE EXPUNGEMENT HELPED YOU FIND HOUSING? “Yes, it’s a start; I’m on the waiting list.” (For public housing) “I have applied for housing and about one month ago I updated my information for the housing process. I am waiting to hear back.”
For more information about HPRP’s Pro Bono Program and the Expungement Project, please contact Katie Meyer Scott or Christina Askins at 410-685-6589 HPRP 201 North Charles Street, Suite 1104 Baltimore, Maryland 21201 (410) 685-6589 Toll Free (800) 773-4340 / FAX (410) 625-0361 www.hprplaw.org