RHLS Hires Communications Associate to Spread the Word


Anabel Lee Genevitz has joined the Regional Housing Legal Services (RHLS) team as our Communications Associate. She looks forward to spreading the word about our work and using technology to advocate for vulnerable individuals and communities in Pennsylvania.

Anabel grew up in South Philadelphia, where she lived in a diverse community that demonstrated the importance of strong neighborhood ties for a good quality of life. Wanting to share these experiences, she has devoted her professional and academic life to helping other communities address barriers to serving its members.

Anabel graduated from Arcadia University in 2013 with a degree in Sociology and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. She first became involved in the fight for housing and services as a volunteer and intern at Project HOME, a partner of RHLS. She later joined Project HOME’s Development and Fundraising team as she found her talents in writing, speaking, and analysis could be used to support its goal of ending homelessness in Philadelphia. Currently, she is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Social Work at Temple University.

When Anabel isn’t working, you’ll likely find her cooking, knitting, enjoying a good book, watching the Philadelphia Eagles, or hanging out with her little sister, Ava.

Feel free to say hello on Twitter, Facebook, or at agenevitz@rhls.org.

Register Today!- Judy Berkman to present at Rebuilding Homeownership Forum

Regional Housing Legal Service’s Judy Berkman will  present at the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania’s Rebuilding Homeownership in a Challenging Market Forum for Southeastern Pennsylvania on Monday, September 22nd.

Hosted by Wells Fargo Bank at their Center City Philadelphia location, the invitation describes the forum as follows:

Rebuilding Homeownership is a series of ½ day (morning) regional informational forums designed to start a conversation about homeownership, products and services to address new lending rules, partnerships and collaboration that mitigate risk, innovations and creative approaches to CRA (Community Reinvestment Act). It brings together lenders, the public sector and nonprofits to share information, explore new solutions, air frustrations, and most importantly, to spur new action that renews the American dream of homeownership that is both prudent and fruitful. 

The forum will be held from 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM. Lenders, bankers, CRA officers, housing and service providers, public officials, and realtors are encouraged to attend.

Click Here to register for the event and view the agenda. We hope to see you there!


The Impact of Section 3 Certification: The Grace Security Story

Barbara Strothers, CEO of Grace Security.
Barbara Strothers, CEO of Grace Security.

Renee Robinson, Section 3 Business Certification Specialist,  took some time to reach out to Barbara Strothers to discuss the impact that Section 3 Certification has had on her business, Grace Security.

Grace Security was founded by Strothers and Clyde D. Mann Jr. to provide security guards to commercial buildings, retail businesses, and special events in the Pittsburgh area. They have had their Section 3 Certification since 2012.

Visit their Facebook page to find out more about their services.
Robinson: What made you want to do Security?

Strothers: I have been doing security for 14 years. Eventually I thought about doing it for myself. I currently employ 10 people all of which who are from the Hill District.

Robinson: Has the Section 3 Business Program helped you? If so, how?

Strothers: It’s helped me a lot. People have been calling us when they want jobs done for them and their business. Most of the calls I received was from being a part of Section 3 Business Program. I am in my second year and I am excited about it. The Hill House community stuff, Shop N Save, and different jobs and events here and there all have been keeping us busy.

Robinson: What inspired you to start your own business?

Strothers: The fact that I had the willingness to get out there and do it. To be honest and open minded about doing it and not being afraid. Whether I make it or nothing; nothing beats a fail but a try. If I never tried I would have never known if I would have made it or not. No one else will do it for you. You would have been wondering if you could have did it.

Robinson: Where do you want to be in the future?

Strothers: Somewhere sitting on the beach. (Laughs) I want to be a big help to my people and my community. Someone to look up to in the community. Especially to these women. Keep focused and keep telling yourself that you can do it. Don’t let these young guys tell you that you can’t do it. Especially my daughter. I am happy that my daughter is being successful and doing well; I am thankful for her and my son. These guys need someone to look up to as well. They all need role models. I want to let women know that they could be anything they want. They just have to want it and stay focused. I thank God for it first of all. I am truly thankful for his blessing and doing his will and he makes my way.

Robinson: Would you refer other Business to register on the Section 3 Certification website?

Strothers: Most definitely!

Special thanks to Barbara to for taking the time to share her experiences with us!

The Impact of Section 3 Certification: Connecting Businesses for Community Development

The Community Builders, Inc. and their general contractor, Sota Construction, awarded $1.8 million in subcontracts to Section 3 Certified businesses working on East Liberty Place South (ELPS). ELPS is a 52-unit, mixed-use, mixed-income apartment building located in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh.

Construction on the property was completed last month. Sota Construction committed 25% of the dollar value of all subcontracts on the project to Section 3 businesses, making the entire $9.8 million general contract eligible for a Section 3 contracting preference.

Section 3 businesses performed the electrical work; installed metal studs, drywall, insulation, acoustical ceilings; and provided both landscaping and cleaning.

James Eby, Senior Project Manager at The Community Builders, Inc. provided the following testimonial on his experience with Section 3 Certification. The Community Builders, Inc. acted as the developer in the ELPS project:

“I want to thank RHLS for taking the initiative to implement the Section 3 Certification program clearinghouse in Allegheny County. I believe our higher achievement in reaching Section 3 hiring and contract goals on our current project, versus previous ones we had built in the Pittsburgh area, is a direct result of the information bank and referral system RHLS put together. In the past there was no central resource to identify who is out there, and it was a frustrating task to search out Section 3 businesses and to help those we thought might qualify to be certified.”

If you are a developer or contractor looking to identify more Section 3 businesses to work on your projects, visit the RHLS Section 3 Database today!

PULP Webinar: “Competitive Electric Shopping 101”

During a recent webinar  hosted by the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania on the topic of competitive electric shopping, Patrick Cicero of the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project (PULP) discussed the basic structure, potential benefits, and possible pitfalls of competitive electric shopping in Pennsylvania.

Competitive electric shopping may allow users to capture potential savings, or opt to purchase clean, renewable energy. However, variable rates, hidden fees, and complex structure may make navigating the electricity market a dangerous and difficult task for many consumers.

  • Check out the full webinar
  • View the Q&A
  • Download the slides