New $25,000 Grant Awarded to MVLS will Help Address Social Determinants of Health Through Strategic Outreach Campaign
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS), the largest provider of pro bono civil legal services in Maryland, today announced a new first-of-its-kind partnership with the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) to provide critical legal services to older adults living in neighborhoods that surround the hospital, including in and around the Waverly and Greenmount areas. MVLS will offer free civil legal assistance to residents to ensure the health of their homes are maintained to help these individuals safely age in place. This includes proper estate planning to keep home titles untangled, access to important tax credits and relief funds, and use of the City’s home repair programs to make important home modifications, like wheelchair ramps, grab bar installations and other harm-reduction adjustments. This work is made possible by a generous $25,000 grant from GBMC, and the hospital’s commitment of renewed funding for a second year.
“We are excited to partner with GBMC as we have a shared vision to help stabilize older adults, so they can age independently at home,” said Susan Francis, executive director, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS). “When considering social determinants of health, we recognize that the health of the home—the upkeep, bills and property titling—must be maintained to give adults the best chances at aging in place. We look forward to working with our network of trusted community partners to inform Baltimore City residents about pro bono legal services available to help stabilize their families, housing and finances, which will result in better health outcomes.”
MVLS will engage its network of community partners and local organizations, including Central Baltimore Partnership, the 29th St. Community Center, East Baltimore Midway, Greenmount West Community Association, and Rebuilding Together Baltimore, to inform and inspire residents about the role legal services can play in their aging process. MVLS’ legal services play an important role in stabilizing individuals and families by helping them:
- Avoid foreclosure and tax sale through tax sale clinics and the Homeowner’s Assistance Fund (HAF) grant
- Resolve ground rent issues
- Stop exploitative debt harassment
- Assign a power of attorney to help avoid financial exploitation
- Resolve deed issues through the My Home, My Deed, My Legacy program, so older adults can utilize modification programs that reduce fall risks and promote mobility
The education campaign will feature the creation of outreach materials and resource guides for local organizations and service providers. In addition, MVLS will participate in outreach and education events, including presentations at local community centers, and the campaign will include access to MVLS’ free legal services to help address their challenges.
“We are embracing a broader view of what happens to our older patients when they leave the care of our hospital and return to their local neighborhood. We recognize that adults need stable and reliable housing, so they can age in place longer,” commented Catherine Hamel, president, Gilchrist and executive vice president of Continuing Care, GBMC HealthCare. “With MVLS’ help, we are hopeful more adults will have the services and programs needed to maintain and renovate their homes as their abilities and needs change, so they can comfortably and safely remain in their homes and with the people they love.”
To learn more about the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, its programs and ways to volunteer, please visit www.mvlslaw.org.
About Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS)
Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) removes barriers to justice through free civil legal help, community engagement, and advocacy for equitable laws. The organization matches clients with volunteer lawyers, tax professionals and staff attorneys who represent them in a wide range of consumer finance, family and housing situations, including foreclosure, bankruptcy, divorce/custody, deed changes, as well as income tax disputes, estate planning, and criminal record relief. MVLS advocates for racial equity in Maryland’s legal system and works in concert with community partners to move toward a fair legal system that is free of injustice and equitably serves underrepresented Marylanders. For more information about MVLS, please visit www.mvlslaw.org.