DRM and other advocates at the 2019 Source of Income Rally in Baltimore Maryland
DRM Rallies for Fair Housing for Low Income Families with Disabilities
For Maryland residents with disabilities the lack of affordable housing is a mounting crisis. Maryland has the fifth highest housing costs in the country. Housing Choice Vouchers provide critical access to housing in the private market with guaranteed rent assistance for families with low incomes. These vouchers permit residents living on a fixed income of $735 a month from Social Security to have access to adequate housing. However, many landlords still refuse to accept Housing Choice Vouchers and many voucher participants must rent in unsafe, segregated, and inaccessible housing. In Baltimore City, over half of all housing voucher holders are persons with disabilities. That’s why DRM supports prohibiting discrimination against renters based on the source of income, which includes participants in the Housing Choice Voucher Program. DRM, in collaboration with other advocates* supported and advocated for legislation in Baltimore City that outlaws discrimination based on source of income. Recently, the Baltimore City Council passed legislation that prevents landlords from turning away some (20%), but not all, voucher participants. On April 12, Acting Mayor Jack Young signed this law which will help many low-income families with disabilities locate safe, decent, secure, affordable and accessible housing.  

*Other advocates include: Independent Marylanders Achieving Growth through Empowerment (IMAGE) Center, Maryland ADAPT, the Public Justice Center, representatives from DRM's Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Council, Communities United, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Patricia Saylor
DRM 2019 Grassroots Advocacy Awardee Featured by National Public Radio
DRM will recognize Ms. Patricia Saylor with the 2019 Gayle Hafner Grassroots Advocacy Award at our Breaking Barriers Awards Gala, September 18, 2019. Her leadership in the demand for action following the tragic death of her son, resulted in the establishment of The Commission for the Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the Ethan Saylor Alliance for Self-Advocates as Educators. Read more about her remarkable and effective work to expand training for police and promote the inclusion of self-advocates. 
DRM Attorney Megan Rusciano
"When Punishment is Your Treatment"
DRM proudly announces that staff attorney Megan Rusciano was invited to contribute a chapter to an undergraduate course reader, Disability (In) Justice: Examining Criminalization in Canada . Her piece, "When Punishment is Your Treatment" examines the use of solitary confinement and segregation against Indigenous and marginalized women, with histories of trauma and psychosocial disabilities in Canadian prisons. She argues that for these women, punishment is substituted for needed person-centered support and treatment options, which runs afoul of Canadian constitutional protections. Megan will present her work at the Canadian Law and Society Association's Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia this June. Megan received her Juris Doctorates from the University of Ottawa in Canada and American University in Washington, DC and has continued to engage in comparative disability rights law research.
from left to right: Tacha Marshall displays her 30 year recognition certificate, Hal Malone displays his five-year certificate, Pamela Foresman showing her five-year certificate and Jacqueline Phillips shows her 20 year-certificate.
Celebrating Decades of Service at DRM
DRM's Executive Director, Robin Murphy, honored four DRM staff members with certificates recognizing their many years of dedicated service. Tacha Marshal, Paralegal, who began working at DRM when she was 19 years old, celebrated her 30 year anniversary at DRM. She was recently presented with Maryland Legal Services Corporation William L. Marbury Outstanding Advocate Award. Tacha said "Working at Disability Rights Maryland has been a rewarding experience. I truly love making a difference in the lives of others. The amazing DRM team (current and former) has contributed so much to my life, both professionally and personally. I remain committed to advocating to for the rights of Marylanders with disabilities." Jackie Phillips, Office Assistance, has been with DRM for 20 years. Jackie says "It’s such a pleasure working with my co-workers and mainly the clients because I’m the first person that the clients speak with. Hearing a friendly voice on the other line makes them feel comfortable knowing that DRM really cares about what they may need help with." Hal Malone, Intake Coordinator, and Pamela Foresman, Pro Bono Coordinator were also honored for their 5 year anniversaries of working at DRM. 
Community Lunch & Learn to Help Students
Megan Berger, DRM Attorney and Aarti Sidu, Open Society Institute Baltimore Fellow, both part of the  Maryland Suspension Representation Project , hosted a Lunch and Learn session: "Understanding School Discipline Rights" for Thread staff and AmeriCorps members in Baltimore. 20 attendees left the session with a new perspective on how to advocate for students' rights and resources to help improve student school performance. Thread engages under-performing high school students confronting significant barriers outside of the classroom by providing each student with a family of committed volunteers and increased access to community resources. Thread fosters students’ academic advancement and personal growth into self-motivated, resilient and responsible citizens.
Thread organization logo
Stand with us as we celebrate the individuals who are safeguarding and promoting the equal rights of people with disabilities in Maryland. Join us as we honor Senator Van Hollen, recipient of DRM’s Public Policy Award, Vanita Gupta, recipient of DRM’s Champion of Justice Award, Erica L. Green, recipient of DRM’s Excellence in Journalism Award, Patti Saylor, recipient of DRM’s Gayle Hafner Grassroots Advocacy Award and the Sidley and Venable law firms, recipients of DRM’s Legal Advocacy Awards. DRM is also very pleased to announce that the Awards will be bestowed on the honorees by Dr. Timothy P. Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics International.

2019 Breaking Barriers Awards Save the Date September 18, 2019 at the American Visionary Art Museum
Get Involved!
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DRM has several great opportunities available for job seekers who are looking to join our advocacy team for Marylanders with disabilities! Check out our Careers page for job descriptions and how to apply.

Share this message with your networks and those who may be interested!
Looking for volunteer opportunities for the new year?
DRM maintains a Pro Bono Referral Service where we match those people whom our resources are unable to serve with attorneys who are willing to provide free legal representation. If you are interested in a meaningful Pro Bono experience we encourage you to join our program!

The PAIMI Advisory Council is always looking to increase its membership and affiliates! The PAIMI Council advises DRM’s staff and governing authority on policies and priorities to be carried out in protecting and advocating for the rights of individuals with mental illness in Maryland.
The Mayor's Commission on Disabilities (MCOD) works to remove barriers and promote equal rights and opportunities for individuals with disabilities . The Commission has several vacancies for membership , please share with your networks and apply if interested! (please note: link is in PDF format. DRM is not affiliated with the MCOD.)