Monday, December 9, 2019


Too many Marylanders think they own their home, but actually do not have a legal deed to the property. You need a deed or you cannot put it in your will, cannot leave the home to family, cannot quality for rehab grants, etc. Here is a link to a site for checking if you have a deed: On the bottom of the page, you can check to see if you might qualify for a homeowners' tax credit. The page in Spanish is:

My Home, My Deed, My Legacy is a project of Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service (MVLS) and Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development

Renters also are possible eligible for a tax credit. You might get a check for hundreds! To see if you qualify, go to:'-Tax-Credits.aspx.


Primus was the first black women to practice law in South Carolina, and is probably best known for her work as a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the 1970s. She won the US Supreme Court case that widened free speech rights for attorneys at nonprofit organizations.

In 1978, she was publicly reprimanded by the South Carolina Supreme Court for simply suggesting to a group of women who had received involuntary sterilizations that the ACLU could sue for them. At the time, South Carolina and some other states required poor women to be sterilized in order to receive public assistance through Medicaid. Because these forced sterilizations in the South were mostly performed on black women, many African Americans considered this genocide. 

Later that year, the US Supreme Court overturned the state court’s reprimand, finding in their ruling that she was protected by the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech and expression. The court declared a lawyer could recruit clients when this concerned political expression and advocating for public rights. This ruling helped lead to current rules that attorneys working with nonprofits have wider constitutional protections than those motivated primarily by financial gain. 

Up until the 1980’s, South Carolina kept its sterilization laws. In 2003, South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges (b.1956) made a public apology for the forced sterilizations that had occurred in the state, and for the people who had their rights to have children violated. 

After the case, Primus continued to work for several decades in civil rights and social justice law.

Primus was praised by Wilbur Johnson, who worked for her at Palmetto Legal Services (Spartanburg, South Carolina): "Edna always demonstrated a quiet but serious commitment to the agency’s central mission; that is, delivering quality legal services to those citizens who otherwise could not afford them.” 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

New Website Tool Shows the Impacts of School Segregation by School District

The Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University has released an excellent new interactive website describing access to educational opportunity for every school district in the U.S., which includes a series of tables explaining the persistent effects of racial and economic segregation on student achievement. 

The research papers underlying the new website are also collected here.

The Project utilizes the Stanford Education Data Archive (SEDA), an initiative directed at providing data to assist scholars, policymakers, educators, and parents learn how to improve educational opportunity for all children. It includes various detailed data on educational conditions, contexts, and outcomes in US school districts and counties. Specifically, SEDA has measures of academic achievement and achievement gaps for school districts and counties, as well as district-level measures of racial and socioeconomic composition, racial and socioeconomic segregation patterns, and other measures. 

Research papers include "Is Separate Still Unequal? New Evidence on School Segregation and Racial Academic Achievement Gaps" by Sean F. Reardon, Ericka S. Weathers, Erin M. Fahle, Heewon Jang, Demetra Kalogrides. September, 2019.

The website and SEDA are supported by the Russell Sage Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and several others.


In a just-released analysis, a team at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found evidence of moderately reduced hospital costs for children whose families had received housing vouchers in the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing Demonstration Program (MTO), with additional cost savings associated with moves to lower poverty neighborhoods. Read a summary of the research here and the abstract here. The MTO Program was begun in 1994 by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), with the objective of determining the benefits of offering housing and neighborhood mobility opportunities to low-income families.

The analysis was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on December 3, 2019. It was written by Alexandra Yurkovic, Michael Silverstein, and Alastair Bell.

This research builds on prior research on the health benefits of housing mobility, and work by the Poverty & Race Research Action Council's own estimates of long term health system cost savings.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Released by the League of Women Voters of Maryland on November 24, 2019

League of Women Voters of Maryland logo with MD flag

RSVP for the BIG climate summit in Maryland

On December 14, at the University of Maryland College Park campus, a coalition of advocacy groups large and small — faith leaders, labor activists, environmental groups, and others — will be hosting an exciting one-day conference called Rebuild Maryland: Climate Action Summit.
Please click here to register for the event. The conference will be co-sponsored by a growing list of organizations including: The League of Women Voters of Maryland, Maryland Climate Coalition, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club, Interfaith Power & Light, Maryland Legislative Coalition, 350 dot org, Howard County Sunrise, HoCo Climate Action, MoCo Students for Climate, Climate Law & Policy Project, ClimateXChange,  Takoma Park Mobilization Environment Committee, Climate Reality Montgomery County, Elders Climate Action, DoTheMostGood and Eastern Panhandle Green Coalition. There will be inspiring speakers and you will be given the opportunity to discuss what climate solutions inspire you the most.
You don’t want to miss this day-long conference.
Register here for the Rebuild Maryland: Climate Action Summit
The conference is free to attend, and includes bagels, coffee, and lunch. BUT A SUGGESTED DONATION OF $25 WILL HELP COVER THE COSTS of the food and the space rental.
Time: 9:00am - 4:30pm
Date: Saturday, December 14, 2019
Location: University of Maryland in College Park, Colony Ballroom in the Stamp Student Union
Suggested donation: $25
Nancy Soreng,
You might also want to consider attending THE MARYLAND LEGISLATIVE SUMMIT sponsored by the Maryland Legislative Coalition at the campus of the University of Maryland Baltimore County this event will showcase a presentation of top 2020 environmental bills as well as legislation designed to fund our schools, lower health care prices, and more. Tickets are available here.  
League of Women Voters of Maryland · 121 Cathedral St, Ste. 2B, Annapolis, MD 21401, United States
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Released by the Community Development Network of Maryland on November 27, 2019

Community Development Network of MD logo


 This is it!  August 2020 will be here before you know it!
It's time to stop procrastinating and start studying.
Come to this session and make a written plan for 
studying and time and space to carry out
We will give counselors with different learning styles 
tools to help them successfully pass the test.

Also, if you have taken the test before, let's dust
yourself off and try again. You CAN do it!

DECEMBER 5, 2019
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Druid Heights CDC

 Visit CDN's brand new website
for more information and
how to become a member today.
Released by the PRRAC on November 27, 2019

Poverty & Race Research Action Council logo

Title I "segregation incentives" 

One of our perennial education policy concerns has been the continuing "penalty" built into the Title I school funding formula for districts that take steps to reduce school poverty concentration. Along with calls for a dramatic expansion of Title I funding for high poverty schools, we were pleased to see the issue called out in the education platforms of two Democratic presidential candidates (Warren and Sanders) - so we prepared a short policy brief for the National Coalition on School Diversity explaining the issue and proposing reforms.  We've also updated our survey of the Democratic candidates' positions on school integration to include several new developments.

More progress on source of income discrimination:  

In 2018, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released a report using the data from PRRAC's "Appendix B" survey of laws protecting Housing Choice Voucher families from discrimination.  The report, Prohibiting Discrimination Against Renters Using Housing Vouchers Improves Results, by Alison Bell, Barbara Sard, and Becky Koepnick (December 2018), included a chronology of adoption of the statutes and an interactive map illustrating the geographic scope of SOI laws.  According to the Center's calculations, at the time the report was released, source of income discrimination laws protected 34% of voucher holders in the U.S.   With the addition of two states since December 2018 (New York and California) and eight new municipalities, we estimate that approximately 50% of voucher holders in the U.S. are now covered by these laws!  See our updated survey here.
RAD Choice-Mobility:  One of the most innovative aspects of the Rental Assistance Demonstration is the "Choice-Mobility" requirement that permits families affected by a RAD public housing redevelopment, after the redevelopment is completed, to trade their public housing unit for a portable Housing Choice Voucher (which then opens up their unit for another family on the waitlist).  But HUD's recently released report on the initial phase of RAD developments confirms our own research in progress - that many tenants in RAD properties are not being given notice of their rights to obtain a choice-mobility voucher.  See the report here.
Follow Mobility Works on Twitter!  Our housing mobility group is new to Twitter, so please follow us at @Mobility Works for news and updates on our work. Mobility Works is a group comprised of PRRAC, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership, Housing Choice Partners (Chicago), and the Inclusive Communities Project (Dallas), which works to help low-income families move into diverse, well-resourced communities with high-performing schools, by teaming up with housing authorities and other nonprofits to develop regional housing mobility programs. Learn more about our work here.
Other Resources
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has just released a report on federal government civil rights enforcement efforts in Fiscal Years 2016 through 2018: Are Rights a Reality? Evaluating Federal Civil Rights Enforcement.
Segregation in preschool: Penn State's Center for Education and Civil Rights has released a new report, Segregation at an Early Age - 2019 Update which examines trends in pre-K racial and economic segregation, and its long term impacts.
Health and housing: The Temple University Center for Public Health Law Research is releasing a foundation-funded report series, "Legal Levers for Health Equity in Housing" - the first three reports are available here.