Assistant Dean for Law Career Development D. Jill Green, J.D. ’94, contributed a May 27 column to The Daily Record.
In “A grant that can make a difference,” Green discusses the work of the Baltimore Bar Foundation, which each year awards grants to organizations that help improve the administration of justice and increase access to justice for disenfranchised people; it also awards grants to groups that work to educate the public about the legal system and to improve the image of lawyers.
In particular, Green focused on the work of the Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, which has received Bar Foundation grants to fund its Tax Sale Prevention Project Clinic and its outreach work in Baltimore.
For the last two years, the center has worked to combat legislation in Baltimore that jeopardizes home ownership for thousands of city residents. Under the law, people could lose their homes if they failed to pay their property taxes or water bills for amounts as low as $250.
Working with the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, the Pro Bono Resource Center trained 66 volunteer attorneys to provide tax sale prevention legal services in Baltimore, Green writes. In addition, the center also helped successfully advocate to raise the threshold of delinquent property taxes or water bills at which an owner-occupant can be put into tax sale. Before 2016, a homeowner could be placed in tax sale for owing $250 in property taxes or $350 in water bills. This year, the amount was raised to a total of $750. This successful advocacy resulted in a 40 percent reduction in the number of owner-occupants on the initial list of tax sale properties to be auctioned, which was published in March.