Director of Housing Justice – Baltimore City Office

Homeless Persons Representation Project, Inc.

Location

Baltimore, MD

Category

Attorney

Posted

April 29, 2022

Type

Full-Time

Description/Duties

Are you passionate about housing justice? Do you want to use your legal skills to keep tenants in their homes and prevent homelessness? If you desire a position where you have the opportunity to provide direct legal representation to prevent displacement of tenants and homelessness, and to build a team of dedicated advocates to join you in this work, the Homeless Persons Representation Project (HPRP) is seeking a full-time Director of Housing Justice.

Our Story: HPRP works to end homelessness in Maryland by providing free legal services, including advice, counsel, education, representation, and advocacy, to people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. HPRP’s staff and volunteers pursue this mission by offering legal services in shelters, soup kitchens, welfare offices, community centers, and on the street. HPRP’s direct representation informs broader-based systemic advocacy and impact litigation to address the root causes of homelessness. Learn more at www.hprplaw.org.

HPRP’s housing practice embraces the value of housing as a human right and seeks to ensure justice for and with persons whose housing rights have been compromised. Our work focuses on access to and preservation of shelter and subsidized housing, as well as expansion of affordable and fair housing opportunities. This position will focus primarily on providing direct service to clients facing eviction or termination of their housing subsidy.

Reports to: Managing Attorney

Location: Baltimore, MD. HPRP is currently closed to the public, except on an appointment-only basis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the responsibilities of the Director of Housing Justice require in-person presence at the Baltimore City office and regular attendance at District Court, however flexibility is available for some remote work.

Responsibilities:
• Handle individual cases focused on eviction defense of tenants in subsidized housing, and subsidy terminations.
• Responsible for all phases of litigation including case investigation and development, pleadings and motion, discovery, trial, post judgment motions and appeals.
• Attendance at one or more Rent Court Dockets in Baltimore City District Court per week.
• Creating client and community education materials; conducting regular outreach to identify clients in need of legal services; and conducting know your rights presentations on housing law.
• Work in coalition on legislative advocacy and policy initiatives related to homelessness, tenants’ rights, and eviction at the local and state level.
• Analyze bills and provide written and oral testimony in the Maryland General Assembly and Baltimore City Council.
• Maintain program information required by funders and assist with grant applications and reports.
• Supervision of staff attorneys and/or paralegals on the Baltimore Housing Justice Team. These positions are currently vacant, but we anticipate that they will be filled during the coming year. Casework and other responsibilities will be adjusted based on supervision duties.
• Monitoring and reviewing supervisees’ work on a regular basis to ensure it is conducted pursuant to HPRP priorities and in conformity with HPRP policies, client wishes, applicable professional standards, best practices, and legal and other requirements.
• Providing substantive guidance, consultation, and technical assistance to supervisees as needed;
• Mentoring and supporting the professional development of supervisees.
• Participate in ongoing race equity work within HPRP.

Skills/Qualifications

Required Qualifications:
• 7 years of legal experience as a practicing attorney in positions of increasing responsibility. Post-graduate judicial clerkship can count toward years of experience.
• Experience practicing landlord-tenant and/or subsidized housing law.
• Experience working on legislative advocacy and policy initiatives.
• Admitted to practice law in Maryland or Admitted and in Good Standing in another State and willing and eligible to sit for the next available Bar exam.
• Experience working with people living in poverty or experiencing homelessness.
• Demonstrated commitment to diversity and social justice by using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences.
• Excellent analytical and writing skills. Ability to communicate complex legal issues clearly and effectively both orally and in writing.
• Excellent organizational and project management skills.
• Ability to set priorities and handle multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment.
• Strong interpersonal skills and ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with and collaborate with HPRP staff and external partners in a team environment.
• Ability to work independently and collaboratively with other staff and community partners; and
• Ability to travel independently by utilizing either personal or public transportation to reach off-site clinics and meeting locations in and around Baltimore City (HPRP reimburses for travel).

Preferred Qualifications:
• At least 3 years’ experience practicing Maryland landlord-tenant law, and/or federally-subsidized housing law.
• At least 3 years’ experience practicing in Maryland State District and Circuit Courts.
• At least 3 years’ experience practicing Maryland Administrative Law.
• At least 3 years’ experience with legislative advocacy, including bill drafting, bill analysis, written and oral testimony.
• Knowledge of Fair Housing Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, and other civil rights laws.
• Knowledge of homeless services programs and systems including the Continuum of Care, Coordinated Entry, Emergency Shelters, Rapid-Rehousing and Permanent Supportive Housing.
• At least one year of experience providing direct supervision of legal work.
• Fluency in Spanish.

Compensation

Salary: The HPRP Board of Directors has recently approved a new salary scale, with substantial increases for each of the next three fiscal years. Effective July 1, 2022, the annual salary for a director-level attorney with 7 years of experience is estimated to be $81,150. Please note that this estimate includes a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) percentage reflecting the annual rate of inflation that will not be finalized until June. The new scale includes additional salary bumps for further years of experience, for staff who speak a relevant second language, and for staff with relevant lived experience. However, between now and June 30, the FTE salary for an attorney with 7 years of experience in this position is $70,000, with additional salary bumps for further years of experience and/or a relevant second language. HPRP’s full-time workweek is 35 hours per week.

Benefits: HPRP offers a comprehensive package of benefits that includes full health coverage (medical, prescription, dental) for the employee plus a contribution toward family coverage; short- and long-term disability insurance; life insurance; ability to contribute to HPRP’s 403(b) plan (employer supplemental salary contribution determined annually); vacation (20 days); sick leave (10 days); personal days (3 days); and holidays. During the COVID-19 pandemic, HPRP has created special family/dependent care leave and is primarily teleworking, with limited use of office space as determined by the position and the organization’s current COVID re-opening phase.

How To Apply

To Apply: Send by email a resume and cover letter addressed to Carolyn Johnson, Managing Attorney. These items should be sent (preferably as PDF attachments) to jobs@hprplaw.org. Specify “Director of Housing Justice” in the subject line. Writing sample (legal memorandum) and references will be requested if selected for an initial interview. We are looking for thoughtful, personalized cover letters that demonstrate the applicant’s qualifications, work style, and interest in being part of a team working to eliminate homelessness in Maryland. We are looking for applicants who have a comprehensive understanding of oppression and structural racism, including how structural racism perpetuates barriers to housing and income. Resume reviews begin immediately and applicants will be accepted until the position is filled.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement: Staff are required to stay up to date on their COVID vaccinations, including receiving additional booster doses that currently are or may subsequently be recommended by the CDC. Vaccine exemptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis on religious grounds and in accordance with reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

HPRP is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. We believe that having a staff, board, and volunteers with diverse personal and professional backgrounds and lived experience enhances our ability to meet our mission and creates an environment where all members of our community can thrive. We strongly encourage applications from Black people, Indigenous peoples, people of color, immigrants, persons with disabilities, members of the TLGBQIA+ (Trans, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and more) community, people with lived experience of poverty and/or homelessness, and people from other underrepresented and historically marginalized groups