HOME PRESERVATION PROJECT

COVID-19 UPDATES

HPP's community-based clinics are postponed until it is safe to return to in-person events. We are currently offering remote legal consultations through our Estate Planning Project and our Utility Bills Project, for which attorneys can train and volunteer.  We are currently serving clients in Baltimore City only.

Under our remote clinic model, PBRC will offer one-on-one support to volunteers during phone consultations with clients.

For our remote utility bill consultations, volunteer attorneys sign up for two-hour shifts to provide up to three clients with water, gas and/or electric bill issues an individualized legal consultation about their situation along with a “roadmap” summarizing the attorney’s advice, suggested next steps, and additional referral information as appropriate. 

For our advance planning work, volunteer attorneys will sign up for two-hour shifts to provide up to two clients per shift with guidance completing two documents during the course of the consultation: (A) an advance medical directive and (B) a financial power of attorney. Document templates will be provided to the clients ahead of time. Clients will complete the documents themselves during the consultation, with the counsel of the volunteer attorney. Clients will then be responsible for executing the documents themselves. We are not able to prepare wills at this time.

Our remaining projects are on hold while Maryland remains under a shelter-in-place order. However, check back frequently as we are currently working to create new remote opportunities to volunteer in our other project areas. To learn more about our work in those areas as they would normally operate, see below. You can still sign up to view our online trainings and you will be put on an email listserv to get information on upcoming brief advice opportunities.

PBRC’s Home Preservation Project (HPP) recruits and trains pro bono attorneys to provide legal representation to low-income Marylanders at risk of losing their homes.

 

  • Estate Planning Services:  Our Estate Planning Project was created, in partnership with Senior Legal Services, to address the severe shortage of free estate planning services in Baltimore. All older adults, regardless of their assets or lack thereof, need legal documents that will ensure adherence to their wishes. Advance planning determines how patients choose to live their last days, what health care and life-saving measures to take, and how to distribute funds for their own care or for loved ones. Those with legally appropriate advance medical directives and financial powers of attorney will be able to manage incapacitating or end-of-life issues far more easily.
  • Utility Bill Assistance: Issues with utility bills, especially water bills, are a constant problem for Baltimore City’s low-income residents. The cost of water service in Baltimore increased by 127% between 2010 and 2018 and now the City is in the midst of a three-year rate increase. Beyond the high cost of water service, Baltimore also has a long history of significant problems with water billing errors. Discount programs for low-income residents remain cumbersome and tricky to access. Through our utility bill clinics, PBRC and our partner MVLS advocate for low-income residents with utility bill issues, helping to stabilize their finances and preserve home ownership.
  • Tax Sale Prevention: To address the rising number of low-income homeowners in at risk of losing their homes due to delinquent property taxes, tax sale clinics were established in partnership with MVLS. Last year, 78% of those attending the clinics were able to be removed from the tax sale list immediately, with others referred for longer-term representation. PBRC operates legal clinics in Prince George’s County and Baltimore City during the month of April.
  • Project Household: A collaboration of PBRC, MVLSMaryland Legal Aid, and Senior Legal Services to stabilize housing for seniors in Baltimore City, Project Household provides legal clinics and representation on a wide range of issues including foreclosure, debt collection, utilities shutoffs, and estate planning. It also connects seniors with a variety of non-legal resources to assist in their ability to maintain their homes.

HOW TO VOLUNTEER

Life Estate Deed Clinics

Attorneys complete an online training course, and participate in a Baltimore City clinic where they meet with Baltimore City seniors to prepare life estate deeds.  This project requires a minimal ongoing commitment to execute the life estate deed at a later date.

Estate Planning Clinics

Attorneys with less than two years of estate planning experience complete an online training course prior to volunteering.  Attorneys meet one-on-one with Baltimore City seniors at a day-long clinic and prepare wills, advance medical directives, and financial powers of attorney.

View the video about our Estate Planning Clinics to see how you can give back to Maryland's seniors!

Utility Bill Clinics

Attorneys complete an online training course and participate in a half-day clinic in Baltimore City where they give brief legal advice to clients regarding water, gas, and electric bill disputes and shutoffs.

CONTACT THE HPP TEAM

Allison Harris, Esq.
Director | Email Allison

Matte Howard
Project Coordinator | Email Matte

Jade McDuffie McClary, Esq.
Staff Attorney | Email Jade