Name of Host Organization: Homeless Persons Representation Project, Inc.
City, State: Baltimore, Maryland
Issue area: Housing/Homelessness, Veterans' Rights
Sponsors: Lockheed Martin, Hogan Lovells
Michael assisted homeless and at-risk veterans in rural Maryland by providing civil legal aid and advocacy on Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and other issues through the innovative use of technology linking pro bono attorneys to rural veterans.
Need Addressed By Project
Rural homeless or at-risk veterans continue to face incredible hurdles in obtaining the VA benefits and relief to which they are entitled. Accordingly, veterans comprise a greater proportion of the homeless population in rural Maryland than in urban Maryland, yet no pro bono services existed that were targeted at serving rural homeless veterans in the state. The absence of services coupled with the lack of mass transit meant that rural homeless and at-risk veterans were cut off from access to civil legal aid. The project, the Rural Veterans Legal Assistance Project, brought pro bono legal assistance to them. Michael used lay volunteers and Skype to connect urban, central Maryland pro bono attorneys to homeless or at-risk veterans in rural intake centers. The project not only helped rural homeless veterans receive the benefits they are entitled to, but will also brought visibility to an otherwise forgotten rural population.