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Welcome to the 2020 PLAN Virtual Statewide Conference

All workshops will be presented virtually by webinar on the Zoom platform. You must register for individual workshop webinars by clicking the Register for the Webinar button appearing in the workshop description and completing the registration information to be admitted into the webinar.

Pennsylvania CLE credits will be available to attorneys who actively participate in webinars and indicate their participation through polls displayed periodically during the webinars.

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Housing Law [clear filter]
Monday, September 21
 

10:00am EDT

Eviction Diversion Programs
Communities across Pennsylvania are exploring third-party mediation programs as part of a broader eviction prevention strategies. Some of these programs elsewhere in the country have been very successful in preserving the tenancy, resolving habitability issues and repairing a strained landlord-tenant relationship.

This workshop will cover the elements of a successful diversion program in Lansing, Michigan; the steps that advocates took to create a mandatory pre-filing diversion program in Philadelphia; and initial results of a voluntary pre-filing diversion program in Allegheny County.

Speakers
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Gale Schwartz

Associate Director of Policy & Strategic Initiatives, Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania
Gale Schwartz is the Associate Director of Policy & Strategic Initiatives at the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania. Joining the Housing Alliance in 2013, she primarily works with the diverse membership of the Housing Alliance to address pressing housing and community problems across... Read More →
avatar for Megan Stanley

Megan Stanley

Executive Director, Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations
Megan Stanley serves as the Executive Director for the City of Pittsburgh's Commission on Human Relations. She joined the Commission in 2018 with over 10 years of progressive experience in social policy and housing, working specifically with vulnerable populations. Prior to working... Read More →
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Rachel Garland

Managing Attorney, Housing Unit, Community Legal Services
Rachel Garland began her career at Community Legal Services as an Equal Justice Works fellow in 2008. She is currently serving as the Managing Attorney of the Housing Unit.
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Elizabeth Rios

Managing Attorney, Michigan Advocacy Program, LSSCM
Liza is the Managing Attorney for the Lansing Office of Legal Services of South Central Michigan and has been with the program for 10 years, specializing in housing law. Liza graduated from The University of Michigan with a BA in political science in 2001 and received her J.D. from... Read More →


Monday September 21, 2020 10:00am - 11:30am EDT
Zoom .
 
Friday, September 25
 

2:00pm EDT

Low Income Housing Tax Credits 101 for Housing Advocates
The Low Income Housing Tax credit is the primary tool used to facilitate the development and preservation of affordable housing. It is administered jointly by the IRS and in PA, the PA Housing Finance Agency.

This session will explain the basics of LIHTC, and what is important for legal services staff and their client to know.

Speakers
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Mark Schwartz

Executive Director, Regional Housing Legal Services
Mark Schwartz is the Executive Director of Regional Housing Legal Services (RHLS), a statewide nonprofit law firm with expertise in affordable, sustainable housing and its related components: community and economic development, utility matters, and preservation of homeownership. RHLS... Read More →
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Dina Schlossberg

Deputy Director/Senior Attorney Multi-Family Housing, Regional Housing Legal Services


Friday September 25, 2020 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Zoom .
 
Monday, October 5
 

10:00am EDT

Remote Eviction Hearing Issues in the Age of COVID-19
"In-person" eviction hearings may pose health risks to defendants with medical conditions that put them at greater risk of serious illness or death if exposed to the Coronavirus. At the same time, remote hearings may present procedural challenges that could impair a defendant's ability to evaluate evidence and present a defense.

This workshop will cover reasonable accommodation requests and potential due process challenges to the conduct of eviction hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speakers
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Eric Dunn

Director of Litigation, National Housing Law Project
Eric Dunn is a national expert on tenants’ rights and consumer law issues, known for high-impact advocacy on matters affecting subsidized housing tenants and families struggling to access housing because of criminal and eviction records. Prior to joining the National Housing Law... Read More →
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Matt Rich

Attorney, MidPenn Legal Services
Matt Rich provides advocacy, consultation, supportive services, and representation to low-income residents (mostly in both Dauphin and Perry Counties) primarily in the area of landlord/tenant cases, both in private and subsidized housing matters. He also works with low-income individuals... Read More →



Monday October 5, 2020 10:00am - 11:30am EDT
Zoom .
 
Thursday, October 15
 

2:00pm EDT

Receivership
Receivership is a statutory or equitable remedy that replaces control of property in the hands of an officer of the court in order to prevent irreparable harm to some legal or property right, such as the right of tenants to habitable living conditions. In the face of seemingly growing numbers of poor-quality multifamily rental properties, receivership can be a very useful  tool for providing relief to tenants. This panel consists of attorneys who have successfully used receivership on behalf of low-income tenants in several contexts. Eileen Yacknin and Kevin Quisenberry will discuss their use of receivership on behalf of tenants in a rental property where ownership was in dispute and a condemnation order was issued. Bob Damewood will discuss his representation of a mobile home resident association that volunteered to serve as receiver and ultimately used it to acquire ownership.

Speakers
avatar for Eileen Yacknin

Eileen Yacknin

Director of Litigation, Neighborhood Legal Services
Eileen Yacknin works at Neighborhood Legal Services (NLS), her first and only job, arriving straight from Boston College Law School in 1977, before most of you were born. For several years and currently, she serves as NLS’s Litigation Director. For nearly 25 years, she served as... Read More →
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Kevin Quisenberry

Litigation Director, Community Justice Project
Kevin Quisenberry is the Litigation Director of the Community Justice Project (CJP), a statewide law firm within the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network. CJP engages in class action litigation and other forms of impact advocacy to help create positive change for low-income residents of... Read More →
avatar for Robert Damewood

Robert Damewood

Staff Attorney, Regional Housing Legal Services
Robert Damewood is a former legal aid client who now works as a Staff Attorney in the Pittsburgh office of Regional Housing Legal Services, where he represents community-based non-profits that are engaged in affordable housing development and policy initiatives that benefit low income... Read More →


Thursday October 15, 2020 2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT
Zoom .
 
Thursday, October 22
 

2:00pm EDT

Defending Subsidized Tenants in Alleged Criminal Activity Eviction and Section 8 Termination Actions
When subsidized housing tenants face eviction or Section 8 terminations due to their household members or guests' alleged criminal activity, the consequences are severe. Their future right to reside in any federally subsidized housing could be rescinded for years, or sometimes forever. This workshop will examine and illustrate the wide variety of possible defenses to these criminal activity-based adversarial proceedings, and describe how these defenses vary, depending upon the type of federally subsidized housing involved.

Speakers
avatar for Eileen Yacknin

Eileen Yacknin

Director of Litigation, Neighborhood Legal Services
Eileen Yacknin works at Neighborhood Legal Services (NLS), her first and only job, arriving straight from Boston College Law School in 1977, before most of you were born. For several years and currently, she serves as NLS’s Litigation Director. For nearly 25 years, she served as... Read More →



Thursday October 22, 2020 2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT
Zoom .
 
Monday, October 26
 

10:00am EDT

Challenging Illegal Section 8 Side Payments with the Federal False Claims Act
The limited availability of suitable Section 8 Voucher housing has often resulted in the demands of Section 8 landlords to exact from needy tenants rent and/or utility payments in excess of what the Section 8 program permits, as a condition to enter into or extend leases with those tenants. Despite the illegality of these payments, desperate tenants often agree to such side deals, thereby paying hundreds, even thousands, more than landlords are entitled. Often, when tenants fail to remit these extra payments, landlords terminate their leases and sue them for eviction and those unpaid sums. The federal False Claims Act, designed to prevent fraud in the receipt of government benefits, has successfully been used to sanction these unlawful landlord practices, with enormous damages and attorney's fees. This workshop will introduce participants to the framework and contours of the Act and to explain how to litigate these cases.

Speakers
avatar for Eileen Yacknin

Eileen Yacknin

Director of Litigation, Neighborhood Legal Services
Eileen Yacknin works at Neighborhood Legal Services (NLS), her first and only job, arriving straight from Boston College Law School in 1977, before most of you were born. For several years and currently, she serves as NLS’s Litigation Director. For nearly 25 years, she served as... Read More →



Monday October 26, 2020 10:00am - 11:30am EDT
Zoom .
 
Tuesday, October 27
 

10:00am EDT

The Basics of Defending an Eviction from a Mobile Home Park
Residents of mobile home parks are afforded special protections in Pennsylvania under the Manufactured Homes Community Rights Act (MHCRA).

This training will introduce you to the basics of enforcing the rights of mobile home part residents with a focus on defending against an eviction.

Speakers
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Matt Rich

Attorney, MidPenn Legal Services
Matt Rich provides advocacy, consultation, supportive services, and representation to low-income residents (mostly in both Dauphin and Perry Counties) primarily in the area of landlord/tenant cases, both in private and subsidized housing matters. He also works with low-income individuals... Read More →
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Dan Vitek

Staff Attorney, Community Justice Project
Dan Vitek is a Staff Attorney at the Community Justice Project in its Pittsburgh office. He focuses his practice in the areas of housing law, utility services, and civil rights. Nothing makes him happier than chatting with you about your mobile home park cases, so please make his... Read More →


Tuesday October 27, 2020 10:00am - 11:00am EDT
Zoom .
 
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