The Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland was one of nine recipients of the Johns Hopkins University’s Innovation Fund for Community Safety Grants, awarded to grassroots initiatives that seek to improve community safety and reduce crime in Baltimore.
The award, totaling $220,000 across three years, will go toward funding the Stable Homes, Safe Communities project. The project intends to assist disinvested and marginalized community members secure safe and affordable housing, thereby preserving intergenerational resources, preventing homelessness, and stabilizing communities.
Housing stability has been linked to impacting the physical, mental, and economic health and well-being of families and communities. However, there is no established “right” to safe and affordable housing. Without such conditions of stability, youth—and their families—are more likely to experience a disruption of education, endure acute and prolonged stress reactions, suffer mental or physical health challenges, face financial insecurity, and be the victim or perpetrator of violence.
Especially in the wake of a pandemic, where an estimated 21,452 households in Baltimore are behind on rent and at-risk of eviction, ensuring that families have access to stable housing is critical.
The “Stable Homes, Safe Communities” project will utilize PBRC staff and volunteer lawyers to organize and host up to 12 free legal clinics per year, with wraparound social services being offered by community partners in targeted, low-income neighborhoods in eastern and central Baltimore. PBRC will also offer free legal “Know Your Rights” presentations relevant to stable housing, community safety and other issues. Over three years, PBRC ultimately aims to assist 350 families attain housing stability, thereby enhancing safety.