Regional Housing Legal Services (RHLS)

Creating housing and economic opportunity in under-served communities in Pennsylvania and effecting systematic change for the benefit of lower-income households statewide.

Philadelphia Bar Foundation Grant Impact

The Philadelphia Bar Foundation is committed to funding legal work that promotes access to justice for members of the Philadelphia community. The Bar Foundation's support of Regional Housing Legal Services (RHLS) has proven integral to the organization's work in assuring the availability of safe, decent, and affordable housing for Pennsylvania's most vulnerable and low-income citizens. 

Summary List of Programs and Services

RHLS provides legal services and technical assistance to community based organizations that develop affordable housing and engage in economic development activities that benefit low-income people. Our work informs, trains and supports consumers, and those who serve consumers, on housing and utility issues. We engage in policy analysis and promote system innovations focused on critical housing, economic development, neighborhood revitalization and utilities. We represent nonprofit organizations developing or preserving affordable housing and offer Section 3 Business Certification in Montgomery and Allegheny Counties and the HEMAP Help Center, which provides feedback on a HEMAP applicant’s “Statement of Circumstances” portion of the HEMAP application to aid in the submission process.

Summary List of Priorities for Client Intake

Affordable housing: Single Family Homeownership (New Construction and Rehabilitation); Multi-Family Rental; SRO Housing; Emergency Housing; Section 202/811 Housing; Shared Housing; Limited Equity Cooperative; Transitional Housing; Mobile Home Parks; Tenant Management of Public Housing; LIHPRHA; Special Needs Housing; Low Income Housing Tax Credit Projects; Historic Tax Credit Projects; Public Housing Restructuring; and Housing Choice Rent Subsidy Programs.

Economic development: Representation of “Affordable Lenders”; Start-Up Businesses; Section 3 Employment; Business Opportunities for Low Income People; Mixed Use Developments; Commercial Developments; Childcare Developments; Facilities Development; and Open Space and Recreation Development.

Other nonprofit expertise: Entity Selection; Nonprofit Mergers and Acquisitions; IRS Tax Matters for Nonprofits; and Partnerships and Joint Ventures.

Project development: Assist nonprofits to envision, structure, finance and operate projects; serve as in-house counsel for project duration; maximize resident project participation; and help maximize funding and/or # of units.

Policy analysis: Identify critical community development policy issues, and craft policy recommendations to maximize the preservation and production of affordable housing and facilitate more comprehensive community development.