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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Local Nonprofits Provide Free Legal Assistance in Baltimore for Families at Risk of Losing Their Homes Due to Unpaid Property Taxes

Free Clinics Offering One-on-One Counseling to be Held April 15 and April 19

BALTIMORE – With Baltimore City’s tax sale date set for May 15, homeowners who owe at least $750 in property taxes or citations, or a combination of both, are at risk of losing their home to tax sale. To help families hold onto their homes, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) in partnership with the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland and Stop Oppressive Seizures (SOS) Fund will host three free tax sale prevention clinics to help struggling homeowners. These homeowners will meet one-on-one with a pro bono attorney and get legal advice about their options and the tax sale process. Homeowners also will get connected to critical resources like the Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit Program. After the clinic, if homeowners need ongoing assistance and representation, MVLS will place them with a pro bono attorney.

Unpaid property taxes often affect the poorest homeowners in the most distressed neighborhoods. Tax sales have a disproportionate effect on Black homeowners and communities of color as well as the elderly. Many of these homeowners survive on fixed incomes and struggle to pay their bills even before a tax sale happens. Most of these homeowners also live in multigenerational households where they provide shelter and support for their children and grandchildren. For these families, the predominant form of accumulated wealth that they have, and that they can pass on to their families, is the equity in their homes. But the property tax system, by taking these properties, continues to strip wealth from Black families and communities – further exacerbating the existing wealth gap and contributing to vacant and abandoned properties all over the state.

WHEN / WHERE:    Saturday, April 15, 2023, from 12-3 p.m.

                                    Collington Square Recreation Center

                                   1410 North Patterson Park Avenue

                                   Baltimore, MD 21213

      Wednesday, April 19, 2023, from 4-7 p.m.

                                    C.C. Jackson Recreation Center

                                    4910 Park Heights Avenue

                                    Baltimore, MD 21215


Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) is a nonprofit that mobilizes volunteers to provide free civil legal help. The organization serves thousands of people each year who otherwise would be unable to afford representation, focusing on six issues that have a big impact on peoples’ everyday lives – family law, housing, finance, tax, criminal record relief and estate planning and administration. Through outreach and education, MVLS brings legal services to people who need it most. Through advocacy, MVLS fights for racial and economic justice. To learn more, visit mvlslaw.org.

 Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland (PBRC) is Maryland’s hub for pro bono civil legal assistance provided by volunteers. Equal access to justice is a core value of our nation, yet hundreds of thousands of our state’s residents cannot afford the legal help they desperately need and have no legal guarantee of a lawyer. As the pro bono arm of the Maryland State Bar Association, PBRC plays a unique role as the training, support, innovation and advocacy center for pro bono and also offers remote consultations via telephone. For more information, visit probonomd.org.

The Stop Oppressive Seizures (SOS) Fund aims to disrupt then dismantle predatory systems that erode ownership within Black, Indigenous and communities of color, while decolonizing our understanding of property to support models of collective land stewardship. To find out more, visit thesosfund.com.

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