Dear Friends,
As I write this message, I am reminded that it was almost two years to the day, that the world was upended by an unprecedented health pandemic - COVID-19. Today, MidPenn Legal Services continues to prioritize the health and safety of our staff, clients, and community as we strive to navigate the ongoing pandemic crisis.
With that note, we have continued to move forward with our mission of working to achieve access to justice for all. Our website has been translated into several additional languages to ensure access to everyone who needs our services. Our tech team has eased the process of Intake forms to be completed online and submitted immediately. Unfortunately, the pandemic exacerbated the ongoing gaps in social and equal justice, as we've seen an increased need for the protection of domestic violence, emergency child custody cases, access to income, access to healthcare, and housing issues. However, our advocates, staff, and volunteers are working hard each day to meet the tremendous challenge of serving the least among us.
Lastly, we are still continuing to reach each of you virtually through our informative and educational webinars on tax, housing, or family law topics. Follow our digital platforms to stay updated on the current events and happenings. So, whether I see you on my computer or in-person, I and everyone at MidPenn is determined to keep you informed and connect with you. Enjoy the nice weather, stay healthy, and I hope to see you all in person soon!
Rhodia D. Thomas, Esq.
Executive Director
Veteran's Multi-Service Center and Opportunity House

MidPenn is partnered with Veteran’s Multi-Service Center (VMC), and most recently Opportunity House, to serve low-income Veterans and their family members. The income guidelines under the special funding for these programs are higher than that of our other funders and allow MPLS to provide much-needed help to those who may otherwise not qualify for our services.
Under the VMC funding for the period July 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021, we opened 20 cases. MidPenn was able to assist veterans and their families in a variety of areas including consumer, utility, expungement, domestic abuse, housing, foreclosure, disability, and VA benefits.
Veteran’s Multi-Service Center now covers seven counties, Centre, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Juniata, Lebanon, and Mifflin Counties. The recent partnership with Opportunity House allows us to additionally serve veterans and their families in Schuylkill, Lancaster, and Berks Counties.

Attorney Jim Orgass from MidPenn's Lancaster Office received an appreciation client letter. We love when our clients send us lovely notes like this one!
Across MidPenn's Offices

Housing Advocacy: Recognized as one of the leading housing attorneys in the Commonwealth, MidPenn Attorney Matthew Rich has been training Magisterial District Judges (MDJ) across Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, all landlord/tenant cases start at the MDJ level. MDJs are elected but are not required to have a law degree or legal background. Unfortunately, this means that some of these judges lack the training and understanding of the law, specifically for low-income renters. In March 2020, when the Governor and Courts instituted moratoriums on eviction proceedings, the orders were not self-executing nor clearly interpreted. Attorney Rich received numerous calls and emails from various MDJs he had trained asking for assistance to help them understand these orders and moratoriums. As a result of his efforts, clients across the Commonwealth benefitted because the information Attorney Rich provided helped to ensure that the MDJs across the Commonwealth were evenly applying the law in addition to upholding the moratoriums that otherwise might have resulted in eviction. Attorney Rich continues to serve as an instructor for the ongoing training sessions with the MDJs as part of the Minor Judiciary Education Board's Continuing Legal Education for Magisterial District Judges.
Ombudsman Program: MidPenn Legal Services has two Ombudsmen on staff. Eileen Barlow (Schuylkill County) and Judy Weimer (Lebanon County). Our Ombudsman advocates on behalf of individuals living in nursing homes assisted living facilities and personal care homes. Their work ensures that these individuals have the highest quality of care. Visitation has opened up in the past few months and the Ombudsmen report that the spirit and morale of the residents is high.
Access to Justice: Berks County Attorney Donald F. Smith, Jr., received the 2021 Volunteer of the Year Award at MidPenn's Access to Justice event on September 22, 2021. The award was in recognition of the extraordinary work Attorney Smith has done in the area of housing law. The virtual celebration honored members of the legal profession who have made significant contributions toward achieving Equal Justice for all members of our community. The law firm of McNees, Wallace & Nurick has received the 2021 Law Firm Award for their outstanding pro bono commitment and support of MidPenn's mission. Kay Pickering from the Harrisburg Center for Peace and Justice was presented the Volunteer Award for her collaborative work with MidPenn advocates. The Honorable Judge Carolyn H. Nichols was the keynotes speaker.
Tax Season: MidPenn's Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) provides free legal advice and representation in tax controversies. MidPenn's attorney handles IRS cases involving tax audits, wage garnishments, innocent spouse defenses, appeals to the U.S. Tax Court, withheld refunds, reducing tax debt and negotiating payment plans. If you, or someone you know, needs help in an issue involving the IRS, call 844-MPLS TAX (844-675-7829). The LITC does not provide tax return preparation.
Upcoming Online Campaigns

Give Local York - May 6, 2022
Centre Gives - May 10 & 11, 2022

For more information click here for our events calendar: Events Calendar
Board of Directors
Michael J. Pykosh, Esq., President 
James P. DeAngelo, Esq., President-Elect - Justine Boatwright, Vice President
Jerry A. Philpott, Esq., Treasurer - Lee Rager, Sr., Secretary
Yaqinah Abdurrahman - Susan E. Bardo - Adam D. Boyer, Esq. - Joy Burton 
Dr. Raff Donelson - Ian M. Ehrgood, Esq. -  Andrew F. Fick, Esq.
Michael M. Kipphan, Esq. - Thomas D. O'Shea, Esq. - Sheila V. O'Rourke, Esq.
Crystal Roan - Debra A. Smith, Esq. 
Kathleen Pratt Swartz - Suzanne M. Trinh, Esq. - Amanda Sholtis, Esq. - Lurnetta Young
Rhodia D. Thomas, Esq., Executive Director
Laurie Baughman, Esq., Deputy Director for Legal Advocacy
Carrie Bowmaster, Esq., Deputy Director for Operations
Elizabeth Truntz, Director of Finance - Shawn Geesaman, Director of Technology
Eliz Nestorov, Director of Development - Valerie West, Esq., Director of Compliance
MidPenn Legal Services is a private, nonprofit law firm providing free civil legal services to residents in these Pennsylvania counties: Adams, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Centre, Clearfield, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, Schuylkill and York. Contributions to MidPenn are tax-deductible as allowed by law. MidPenn Legal Services is a tax-exempt corporation under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3). The official registration and financial information of MidPenn Legal Services may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1 (800) 732-0999..Registration does not imply endorsement. MidPenn may not expend funds for any activity prohibited by the Legal Services Corporation Act, 42 U.S.C..2996 et seq. or by Public Law 104-134. Public Law 104-134 §504(d) requires that notice of these restrictions be given to all funders of programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation.