Policy and Advocacy

RHLS advocates for the refinement or creation of policy or government programs that benefit low-income households and help increase access to affordable shelter.  Our work in this area can be roughly divided into two pieces: 1) Supporting the development of new governmental programs and policies that improve opportunities to build and maintain affordable housing in the Commonwealth; and 2) Supporting organizations and individuals to access and implement best practices. 

Supporting the development of new governmental programs and policies that improve opportunities to build and maintain affordable housing in the Commonwealth.  

RHLS dedicates a significant portion of its practice to overcoming policy-based barriers to progress toward preserving housing affordability and home occupancy. Experienced attorneys analyze public policy, systemic elements, and programs with the benefit of historical perspective and the advantage of a visionary eye, quickly identifying critical issues and pinpointing unmet needs.  RHLS works with nonprofits, for-profit organizations, governmental entities and other stakeholders to help develop programs that fill critical needs in housing and economic development and to provide organizations and individuals with support to access and implement existing best practices.

Examples of our policy-related work include:

  • working as part of a coalition to devise innovative responses to Philadelphia’s vacant lot problem;
  • research, education and legislation to enable owners of manufactured housing to purchase the land on which their homes are located;
  • working as part of a statewide collaborative to identify ways to increase the utilization of existing funds for weatherization of affordable multi-family housing;
  • advocating for revision to Pennsylvania’s Qualified Allocation Plan to protect victims of domestic violence; and
  • advocating for the interests of lower income consumers in proceedings and hearings before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and the state legislature.

Supporting organizations and individuals to access and implement best practices.  

RHLS works to increase understanding  of and access to best practices in housing, utilities, and economic development among nonprofit organizations, the legal services community, and allied organizations and professionals. Examples of this work include:

  • identifying and supporting effective foreclosure-prevention programs and practices; and
  • releasing a manual on conservatorship (giving detailed guidance to attorneys about how to use the state’s conservatorship law, which is meant to increase the options that community organizations and neighbors have to deal with abandoned and blighted properties).