Power Moves: A big change at Community Legal Services - Generocity Philly

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May 30, 2019 12:08 pm

Power Moves: A big change at Community Legal Services

Also, power moves at the Mayor's Commission on People with Disabilities and at Career Wardrobe.

Rasheedah Phillips and Rachel Garland.

(Courtesy photo)

1. Rasheedah Phillips leaves Community Legal Services, Rachel Garland will head its housing unit.

After 10 years with Community Legal Services, four of them as the managing attorney of the housing unit, Rasheedah Phillips is leaving to take a job with Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

Phillips will become the training and business development attorney at the organization, where she will provide training and strategic support to legal services organizations nationally on questions of racial equity, community lawyering, and affirmative litigation, according to the May 28 email announcing the change.

“Under Rasheedah’s leadership and with an innovative collaboration of six organizations, we spearheaded a “Right to Counsel” pilot project that worked to significantly expand access to legal services and other eviction prevention resources to low-income tenants in Philadelphia,” the email stated. “Known as the Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project, we significantly increased legal representation and critical supports for tenants at risk of eviction. We have also made significant strides in increasing protections for vulnerable tenants through just cause eviction, addressing mass displacement, and eliminating barriers to healthy homes for low-income and vulnerable tenants and their families.”

Prior to her work at the housing unit, Phillips directed the Child Care Law Project at CLS. In addition to her ongoing work with important task forces and working groups in Philadelphia, and recognition from the National Housing Law Project, City & State’s 40 Under 40, and the Philadelphia Barristers Association, Phillips is one of the Afrofuturists profiled in Sofiya Ballin‘s award-winning Black History Untold project.

Rachel Garland will succeed Phillips as managing attorney of the housing unit. Currently a supervising attorney, Garland joined the housing unit 11 years ago. According to the announcement email, she “has played a major leadership role in tenant representation, as well as systems advocacy and national and local policy work. With a nationally recognized expertise in subsidized housing law, Rachel has spearheaded federal litigation that has advanced the rights of low-income tenants living in subsidized housing.”

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“I am excited to assume this role at such a critical time when there is a growing understanding of the impact of gentrification and disinvestment on vulnerable communities,” Garland told Generocity, “and when the importance of access to safe and affordable housing is being recognized as the most important stabilizing factor for individuals and families.”

Garland is also recognized for her expertise with regard to domestic violence protections and housing law, and according to the announcement, led “the adoption of local protections for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors and the adoption of an emergency transfer policy for survivors living in Philadelphia Housing Authority public housing.”

She will start in her new role on June 10.

2. Koert Wehberg is appointed to lead the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities.

Koert Wehberg. (Courtesy photo)

Koert Wehberg, formerly of Disability Rights Pennsylvania, has been appointed by Mayor Jim Kenney to lead the Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities. The commission is charged with serving as a forum for discussion on matters related to the disability community, and enables people from that community to have a voice in city programs and services.

According to the release announcing the appointment, Wehberg will tasked with advancing policies and programs for people with disabilities, as well as providing resources and advocating for them. He will also educate the larger community on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Fair Housing Act, and other laws that impact people with disabilities.

Wehberg has a doctorate. from the Syracuse University College of Law, as well as a certificate in Disability Law and Policy. According to the announcement, after law school, “he received a prestigious two-year Equal Justice Works Fellowship — allowing him to represent low-income people of color with disabilities in general accessibility, fair housing, and employment discrimination matters in New York City at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.

Koert moved to Philadelphia  and joined Disability Rights Pennsylvania in 2011, and in that position has represented children and adults with disabilities in special education, employment, and other disability discrimination cases.

3. Al Sharrock joins Career Wardrobe as program director.

Al Sharrock. (Courtesy photo)

Al Sharrock joins Career Wardrobe as program director, managing the operations of client service programs in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Bucks Counties. They also oversee contractors running PA WORKWEAR programs in Berks, Montgomery, and Chester Counties.

Sharrock has significant experience in the local nonprofit world, formerly holding the position of domestic violence counselor and community outreach coordinator at Women in Transition. They also served as program director at Gearing Up.

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