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Director of Legal Services and Advocacy – Maryland

About the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative: The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity with the vision of advancing racial and health equity through healthy housing. With an emphasis on black and brown communities, GHHI delivers improved health, economic and social outcomes. GHHI supports housing, environmental health, and energy efficiency services for families in communities around the country, as well as conducting direct services in Maryland. GHHI’s delivery model is based on its data-driven philosophy that public and private social investments are optimized and social program outcomes are maximized when the energy, health and safety needs of an occupied home are addressed comprehensively, efficiently, and simultaneously. GHHI’s employees are all expected to work by the organization’s operating values of assume good intent, operate with transparency, deliver on time with excellence, and ensure racial equity and diversity is part of all policies, practices and actions.

Vision Statement: Advancing racial and health equity through healthy housing.

Mission Statement: The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative is dedicated to addressing the social determinants of health and the advancement of racial and health equity through the creation of healthy, safe and energy efficient homes. By delivering a standard of excellence in its work, GHHI aims to eradicate the negative health impacts of unhealthy housing and unjust policies for children, seniors and families to ensure better health, economic and social outcomes with an emphasis on black and brown low-income communities.

Our Model: GHHI effectively integrates funding from private and public sources to deliver results for low-income residents.

GHHI Delivers:

  • Government innovation in service delivery and cost savings
  • Measurable improvements in health, economic and social outcomes for children and families
  • Development of community-based green jobs and social enterprise
  • Healthy, safe, stable, and affordable homes
  • Increased family economic security including wealth retention and reduced family displacement

Position Summary: The Director of Legal Services and Advocacy – Maryland position requires an experienced and highly motivated professional and attorney with demonstrated client advocacy and mediation skills who effectively protects tenant’s rights and advocates for the remediation of home-based environmental health hazards such as lead-based paint hazards and other housing defects. The position represents clients in court, provides trainings, and conducts home visits with families throughout the Baltimore region, as well as occasionally elsewhere in the state. The Director will help lead Maryland public policy initiatives with GHHI’s President and CEO and support the implementation of organizational initiatives and policies to improve program operations and family outcomes, enhance the client experience, and deliver results that impact the lives of children in Maryland.

Legal Services Responsibilities:

  • Representation of lead affected families facing environmental justice issues and home-based health hazards issues in courts throughout Maryland. The position will represent tenants primarily in Maryland District Courts in pursuit of rent escrow actions and Failure to Pay Rent Actions for the repair of lead hazards, asthma triggers, safety hazards and other environmental health hazards.
  • Representation of tenants in defense of retaliatory eviction cases, as well as in potential appellate work involving substantive mission related issues.
  • Serve as a liaison between lead affected families and appropriate agencies when seeking services and assistance.
  • Conduct home visits and in-home consultation as needed to assist families and work closely with the Family Advocacy Services Team to provide wrap-around services (home visits to be conducted when permissible and as appropriate following COVID-19 guidelines).
  • Manage legal services programs and activities.
  • Provide compliance assistance to rental property owners including telephonic counseling and in person counseling on federal Maryland Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing Law, federal Title X, EPA RRP Rule, District Court Rent Court proceedings and other lead related laws.
  • Provide trainings statewide on lead and healthy homes related laws to rental property owners, tenants, homeowners, contractors, realtors, attorneys, insurers, and community organizations.
  • Generate housing enforcement referrals of non-compliant properties, where appropriate, to federal, state, and local agencies.
  • Coordinate lead enforcement actions with the Maryland Department of the Environment and local health departments.
  • Develop relationships with new legal and direct service provider partners to expand the reach of the organization’s legal services and policy impact statewide.
  • Conduct legal research and prepare organizational position papers or amicus briefs among other projects.
  • Supervise legal interns.
  • Assist with outreach projects and participate in community events on an as needed basis.
  • Complete annual, weekly, and periodic reporting and client database entry.
  • Provide the highest level of integrity, legal ethics, teamwork, and professionalism in conducting duties.

Advocacy and Public Policy Responsibilities:

  • Support advocacy and public policy activities in Maryland including providing public testimony.
  • Draft organizational position papers on public policy issues in Maryland related to GHHI’s mission and assist nationally where public policy issues are of interest and relevant to impact in Maryland.
  • Draft GHHI public comment on proposed regulations or regulatory actions.
  • Assist in the drafting and development of strategic action plans for lead poisoning prevention and healthy housing.
  • Participate in public policy related projects to support the mission and deliverables of the organization.
  • Perform other related duties as required and assigned to support GHHI’s mission.

Core Competencies:

  • Endless Learner: References data, information, and peer insight to guide daily workload as well as departmental planning and development.
  • Tenacious and Results Oriented: Holds high standards for individual and teamwork.
  • Effective Communicator: Conveys information in way that is strategic, honest, timely and respectful to whom they are interacting.
  • Creative and Curious: A systems thinker and builder who is not afraid to be innovative in designing solutions and has skills in articulating these ideas and concepts.
  • Strong Culture Builder: Champions leadership techniques to build culture that aligns with organizational values and priorities.
  • Collaborator & Partnerships: Works effectively with others to achieve shared goals through cooperation, knowledge sharing, joint problem-solving and celebrating success.
  • Managing & Developing Others: Ensures that any direct reports continue to feel respected and be encouraged to grow, develop, and reach their professional goals.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Excellent advocacy, trial, case management, computer, and organizational skills.
  • Ability to work with high risk, low-income communities and/or families.
  • Ability to conduct trainings and effective public speaking.
  • Graduation from an accredited law school.
  • Admission to the Maryland Bar.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Access, Word, Outlook, and Power Point.
  • Highly organized and self-motivated.
  • Detail oriented.
  • Possess a passion for making a difference in the lives of children and families.
  • Must have a valid driver license and your own vehicle for reliable transportation.

Additional Information: This is a full-time, exempt position based in our Baltimore, Maryland office. Position includes a full benefits package and competitive salary commensurate with experience. GHHI is an equal opportunity employer and a drug free workplace. Interested candidates must send resume, cover letter, three references and salary requirements to the organization’s Department of Human Resources at: hr@ghhi.org. Visit www.ghhi.org for more information on the organization.