Executive Director: Regional Housing Legal Services

Regional Housing Legal Services (RHLS) seeks a dynamic justice-focused leader to serve as its next Executive Director.

RHLS is a nonprofit law firm that works to imagine and support the creation of decent, safe, affordable and sustainable housing for lower-income people living in Pennsylvania. RHLS drives successful housing creation because of its unique expertise in affordable, sustainable housing, community and economic development, utility matters and policy supports for home ownership. RHLS has committed to making safe, affordable, and healthy housing a reality for all Pennsylvanians for nearly fifty years. Pennsylvania had a severe shortage of affordable and healthy housing before COVID-19. Now, the National Council of State Housing Agencies estimates that in Pennsylvania, the pandemic and the resulting economic impact have put 240,000 families at risk of losing their homes. The problem may be in new scale, but it is familiar to RHLS, which has succeeded in the long-term work of creating safe, affordable housing for all.

This position is an exciting opportunity for an experienced leader with vision, strong management skills, and a deep understanding of the connection between racial equity and housing justice. Our next Executive Director will lead a passionate legal team that turns dreams into safe, affordable communities.

Our long-time Executive Director Mark Schwartz expects to step down in mid-2021; we will identify our next leader in time to allow for a smooth transition.

More about Regional Housing Legal Services

Founded in 1973, RHLS engages in legal advocacy focused primarily on affordable housing and community development in Pennsylvania. Key issue areas include low-income housing
development and government policy around housing issues (including affordability, racial equity, and the intersection of housing and health).

RHLS has a staff of 23 and a budget of approximately $3 million per year.

The Pennsylvania Utility Law Project (PULP), an independent legal services program that works to ensure low income consumers can maintain affordable utility services, is also administratively housed within RHLS, fostering collaboration on the inextricable issues of housing and utilities.

About the Executive Director position:

The next Executive Director will have the opportunity to further advance the organization’s core mission of creating housing and economic opportunity in under-served communities in Pennsylvania and effecting systemic change for the benefit of lower-income households statewide. They will further the organization’s work to center racial equity in our substantive work, and increase diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization. The next Executive
Director will join a stable organization with many experienced and skilled staff members.

RHLS’ ideal next Executive Director will be ready to lead with integrity and compassion. They will work collaboratively with the management team to ensure organizational stability and the diversification and expansion of funding streams. They will maintain, nurture and grow longterm and productive organizational relationships with clients, funders, and private and public stakeholders. They will foster and prioritize an organizational culture of learning and accountability coupled with strong support for professional development of staff.

The successful candidate for this position will bring knowledge of affordable housing and community development; lived experience or committed professional experience with the challenges facing low-income populations and communities of color; the capacity to build, direct, and motivate a team of experts in a highly collaborative environment; strong strategic skills that identify priorities and integrate resources toward achieving these objectives; and
exceptional organizational change and culture development skills that will support RHLS’s growth through this period of change.


1. Mission/Vision & External Relationships:
• Lead the development of and oversee the implementation of the strategic plan,
including the development and execution of organizational goals which are tied to the strategic plan.
• Maintain and strengthen relationships with and support for diverse non-profit -clients (and some for-profit partners of those clients) to continue the strong existing partnerships that function to support affordable housing and community
development in Pennsylvania.
• Maintain and strengthen existing strategic relationships; identify and develop new strategic relationships and diversify the points of contact for key relationships.
• Provide leadership on local, state, and federal policy matters.

2. Management and Leadership:

• Collaborate with Management Team to operationalize the strategic vision of the organization with clear goals, outcomes, and metrics.
• Actively supervise and support senior staff as they lead teams in executing on organizational goals.
• Ensure the members of the Management Team have strong management systems to work with, have clear roles and accountability, and the group works well together as a team.
• Ensure senior staff have both the freedom and the accountability they need to execute their responsibilities.
• Ensure that racial equity considerations are built into substantive and administrative processes.

3. Overall oversight of talent management systems:

• Provide overall direction and supervision for RHLS staff; directly supervise senior staff.
• Lead RHLS staff, with ultimate responsibility for hiring, firing, and resolution of grievances.
• Create a culture of learning, accountability, collaboration and trust among staff.
• Emphasize the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce and an inclusive and equitable workplace culture.
• Collaborate with managers to ensure the organization consistently implements best practices in talent management, including integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion factors into all its procedures.
• Ensure that the organization’s legal work is properly supervised and held to the highest standards, including compliance with Pennsylvania’s Rules of Professional Conduct.
• Ensure that staff members are provided with the space, equipment, and training they need to perform their jobs effectively and gain skill over time.
• Foster opportunities for growth and leadership skills development by RHLS staff in all positions with an emphasis on succession planning for key positions.
• Ensure that all staff receive timely and constructive feedback through ongoing supervision and regular evaluations.
• Provide support to PULP Executive Director.

4. Finance and Fundraising

• Ensure the organization’s short- and long-term financial stability.
• Collaborate with senior staff to plan revenue development strategy; oversee and participate in revenue development.
• Collaborate with senior staff and PULP Executive Director to maintain and expand relationships with existing funders and cultivate new sources of support.
• Collaborate with the CFO to develop the annual budget and monitor financials.
• Ensure organizational fiscal and government compliance.

5. Collaboration with and support of the Board of Directors

• Collaborate with the Board to assure that RHLS has a clear and compelling mission and vision, and a long-range strategic plan consistent with the mission and vision.
• Inform the Board about opportunities, challenges, strengths, and weaknesses for RHLS so the Board can effectively execute its governance, financial oversight, and leadership functions.
• Partner in the development and running of Board meetings.
• Support Board development.

Job Qualifications:

• Passion for and demonstrated commitment to economic justice and racial equity;
• Skill as a compelling spokesperson who exhibits transparency, openness, and integrity;
• Ability to develop and convey vision, and build support for our success in achieving that vision;
• Desire and ability to work with diverse groups and people and to generate trust;
• Enthusiasm and skill for revenue development (or the ability to fake it effectively);
• Experience overseeing budget and finance and being able to communicate budget and finance issues to others;
• Strong organizational and planning skills and the ability to think strategically;
• Leadership that inspires and motivates staff and Board members;
• A collaborative, approachable, and accessible management style with the ability to be decisive;
• Political astuteness and ability to navigate the local, regional, and national political structures;
• Honest, transparent, and ethical professional behavior; and
• A sense of humor and a containable ego.

And preference for
• Nonprofit leadership experience;
• Graduate degree; Juris Doctor (JD) is preferred.
• Experience in advocacy for (or development of) affordable housing.

Compensation: Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. RHLS has a generous benefits package.

Regional Housing Legal Services is an equal opportunity employer. We seek to build diversity, equity and inclusion both within our organization and in partnership and allyship with the communities we serve.

About Us

To apply: Send letter expressing interest in and qualifications for the position, together with a resume to: ExecutiveDirectorHiring@RHLS.org. In your letter of interest, please describe how your experience prepares you to lead this organization, and how your experience and views of diversity and equity would inform your approach to leading in the area of affordable housing. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

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