Director of Pro Bono Programs
Homeless Persons Representation Project
Swapna Yeluri is the director of pro bono programs with the Homeless Persons Representation Project, a statewide legal program dedicated to eradicating homelessness.
She supervises more than 400 volunteer attorneys, students, paralegals and other professionals on veteran benefits, discharge upgrade and criminal record expungement cases.
The organization helps veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness obtain critical Veterans Administration disability benefits, other federal and state disability benefits and discharge upgrades.
The organization has clinics at both VA medical centers in Maryland and at rotating clinics in rural counties.
Yeluri said that empowerment is key to all her work.
On her first veteran’s case, she won $40,000 in back pay and $3,000 monthly compensation on a case that everyone told her she should not file. But her client said this was the first time in 40 years that she ever shared her story, and Yeluri thought her story should be heard and was worth fighting for.
“I found that it takes very little to empower someone, but it can have such an impact on someone’s life and in turn society as a whole,” Yeluri said.
Yeluri participates in community outreach events and was a mentor with the Community Law in Action Program for six years.
Less formally but significantly, Yeluri creates snack bags to hand out to people experiencing homelessness.
“Swapna is wholly dedicated to public service, and her energy and enthusiasm for supporting our city’s most vulnerable individuals is unmatched,” said Hugh McClean, assistant professor and director of the Bob Parsons Veterans Advocacy Clinic at the University of Baltimore.