CONTACT: Sharon Goldsmith, Executive Director
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Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland Receives $330K in Emergency Funds from Baltimore County to Expand Eviction Prevention Efforts
BALTIMORE, MD – The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC) recently received $338,000 in emergency American Rescue Plan Act funding from the Baltimore County Department of Housing and Community Development to expand its Tenant Volunteer Lawyer of the Day Program (TVLD), engage in community outreach and public education, provide extended representation, and operate a tenant hotline to provide free legal representation and advice to tenants in Baltimore County. PBRC staff and volunteer attorneys will now manage the only free, day-of-court legal clinic available to tenants in Baltimore County facing eviction.
In Baltimore County, over 17,000 households are behind on rent and are at risk of being evicted according to U.S. Census Household Data. The pandemic has exacerbated the eviction crisis, as many households experienced job instability. Without a steady income, tenants who had never missed a rent payment have now accrued unmanageable amounts of back rent. As the CDC eviction prevention order and other COVID-related protections have been withdrawn, tenants are now at risk of imminent eviction. Unaware of their rights as renters or that critical rental assistance funds are available, numerous tenants arrive at rent court not knowing if they will have a home to return to after their case.
A tenant with a lawyer is much more likely to avoid the life disruptions caused by an eviction than a tenant navigating court alone: in 2021, 94% of clients represented by PBRC attorneys either avoided an eviction entirely or were granted a postponement delaying the eviction process. Since 2017, PBRC has successfully operated the TVLD program in Baltimore City, with expert staff and volunteer attorneys on the front lines providing direct day-of-court representation to more than 1,500 tenants and helping thousands more navigate rental and housing issues. By expanding critical services to Baltimore County, PBRC is ensuring even more vulnerable tenants impacted by COVID-19 remain housed throughout and after the crisis.
About the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland
The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC) is the state’s thought leader, coordinator, and clearinghouse for volunteer civil legal assistance. PBRC leads efforts across the state to encourage and accelerate pro bono service and collaborates with other nonprofits in Maryland to incubate projects that target at-risk individuals and communities, with the goal of ensuring equal access to the justice system.