E-Alerts & Press Releases

The Public Justice Center responds to HUD OIG audit report

November 16, 2012: The Public Justice Center (PJC) received $336,000 from Baltimore City under the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid ReHousing Program from October 2009 through June 2012 to provide eviction prevention services to tenants at risk of homelessness because of their landlord’s foreclosure, unsafe housing conditions, or their inability to pay the rent. PJC attorneys and paralegals provided legal services to more than 1,000 tenant families using these grant funds.  The many tenants we served can attest to the value of having legal advice at a time of personal crisis in their lives; the courts see our attorneys and paralegals in action; and the landlords and banks know that the Public Justice Center is representing tenants every day.  

The HUD Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit report does not dispute that the promised services were provided, nor does it question the quality of the work.  There is no doubt that the goals of the funding --  keeping families in their homes and preventing dislocation and homelessness -- were successfully met.  
 
Instead, the HUD OIG audit report questions the method of verification used by the local grant administrator to establish the payment of money.  Throughout this grant, the PJC has followed the instructions provided to it by Baltimore Homeless Services, the grant administrator. The PJC has provided all requested documentation and modified its grant accounting and verifications processes several times throughout the grant as HUD developed new instructions. We will continue to work fully with HUD and the City as they complete their audit, and will provide any other documentation requested. 
 
The PJC and our clients are grateful that the federal government was able to step up and provide assistance to so many families during the real estate crisis and period of economic uncertainty.  The PJC is proud of the quality of our legal services and that, as a result, many more Baltimore families became aware of their rights as tenants. At the same time, our city benefits from more stable families, housing and communities. Although the federal funds have expired, the PJC continues to provide these and other legal services to vulnerable members of our society. 
 
John Nethercut, Executive Director
 


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