With support from the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle, St. Ambrose recently launched an emergency fund to work with Baltimore's aging residents so that they can maintain their homes safely and sustainably and continue to live in the communities they know and love. Owen Jarvis, St. Ambrose’s Director of Legal Services, recently worked with Gloria, a single woman in her 60s, to save her home.

Owen had been working with Gloria for months and had negotiated a mortgage modification that would enable her to pay a lower monthly bill. As the new terms were set to begin, Gloria’s sister died. 

Over the summer, Gloria had to fly out of state to help make arrangements and take care of her nieces. In the same month, she had to renew her car registration and manage her regular household expenses. This financial strain forced her to borrow money from a friend, which she had to repay before her first modified payment came due. She had to ask for an extension on making the payment. After working for nearly a year to finalize a mortgage modification, Gloria was now in a position where she could lose her home.

Fortunately, funding from the BWGC enabled St. Ambrose to step in and provide direct financial relief. St. Ambrose covered the gap, enabling Gloria to make her full mortgage payment and, more importantly, to save her home.
Renters United Maryland is putting forth a "Housing Justice Package" that includes legislation to protect renters and homeowners as well as to overhaul the eviction process. “Keeping Marylanders in their homes, ensuring they have access to the tools to protect them from foreclosure or eviction, is a complicated problem that deserves a robust, multi-pronged approach,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh. “Each of the reforms announced today is critical to addressing the longstanding structural deficits and inequities that prevent full and meaningful access to housing.” The proposed legislation will protect renters and homeowners and provide avenues of legal recourse to confront landlords/mortgage servicers who may continue to flout the law. St. Ambrose provides free legal aid services to support renters, homeowners, and families who may be in danger of illegally being thrust out of their homes. Read more about the proposed protections here.
Baltimore made history in December 2020 when Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young signed legislation that will make the city the seventh jurisdiction in the nation to provide a right to counsel for tenants in eviction cases. The Right to Counsel bill will keep people in their homes, address racial disparities in eviction, and take on the power imbalance in the court system. Read more about Right to Counsel here and check out the Baltimore Eviction Map, a study that helped advance the legislation.
Gerald had an upcoming high-risk surgical procedure. The 71-year-old Baltimore native needed a legal document to guide his health care providers in the event that something went wrong during the surgery. Gerald went to the Baltimore City Register of Wills where he was referred to St. Ambrose. By working quickly to prepare an advance directive, St. Ambrose attorneys put Gerald's mind at ease, knowing that his wishes would be followed and he and his family would be taken care of. Read more about Gerald's story and put your mind at ease by contacting St. Ambrose attorneys today.
In the pursuit of equity and justice: In September, 2020, St. Ambrose Director of Legal Services became Co-Chair of the Tax Sale Workgroup, a consortium of nonprofit leaders, Baltimore City government officials, State representatives, and foundation executives committed to identifying ways to improve Baltimore City’s tax sale system. The group advocates for local and statewide policy changes which result in:  fewer homeowner properties going to tax sale, more options for homeowners to defend and avoid tax sale foreclosures, and a more equitable and efficient process with respect to vacant properties. 
In one of his first acts as President, Joe Biden directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to extend the nationwide ban on evictions through March 2021. The executive order also extends the foreclosure moratorium on government-backed mortgages, including those backed by the USDA, VA, and HUD. It also allows homeowners to apply for mortgage forbearance if they need it. The eviction moratorium extends vital protections to renters at risk of eviction during the pandemic, and by doing so, it has helped keep stably housed millions of people who otherwise would have been evicted.

According to the Census Bureau, nearly one in five renters – disproportionately Black and Latino renters as compared to white renters – are behind on their rent. Without continued federal intervention, up to 30 million to 40 million renters could lose their homes, tens of millions of low-income renters would continue to be at risk of losing their home, and with it, their ability to keep themselves and their families safe and healthy. Read more here.

Upcoming event: Estate planning and Will Preparation at the Baltimore County Public Library (via ZOOM)

Date Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Time: 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Register here.