Marsha I. Cohen, Esq.
Marsha I. Cohen, Esq. - Executive Director
Celebrating 21 years as the executive director of the Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) in Philadelphia, Marsha is the public voice of a growing nonprofit that exists to meet the legal and advocacy needs of homeless individuals and families in the region. Under her leadership, HAP has grown from an annual budget of $200,000 to over $1.7 million in 2019 and has increased its staff from 4 to 15.
Under Marsha’s leadership, HAP recruits, trains and supports more than 350 volunteer legal advocates annually, whose services and resources change the lives of thousands of homeless individuals and families in the region. Since HAP’s founding in 1990, the organization has provided free civil legal services to more than 52,000 homeless men, women and children in Philadelphia.
A lawyer by trade, Marsha’s efforts to advocate for the needs of Philadelphia’s homeless population with city officials and policymakers has resulted in numerous policy and legislative changes. At a time of shrinking government resources and a rapidly growing homeless population, Marsha and HAP are committed to making access to free civil legal services as widely available as possible to ensure homeless individuals have access to public benefits, supportive services and housing.
As a long-term volunteer for the Support Center for Child Advocates and Women Against Abuse Legal Center, Marsha has helped abused and neglected women and children to live safe and healthy lives. She served on the board of the Caring People Alliance and co-chairs the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Delivery of Legal Services Management Committee. Marsha received her BA from Wesleyan University and her JD from the George Washington University School of Law.
Michele Levy, Esq.
Michele Levy, Esq. - Managing Attorney
Michele Levy is the Managing Attorney at the Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) and has been with HAP since December, 1999. She provides direct legal representation to homeless individuals and families, supervises the HAP legal staff as well as volunteer attorneys, legal assistants and law students. She also conducts broader advocacy on systemic issues that impact the homeless population in Philadelphia.
Before coming to HAP, Michele practiced with a small firm in Delaware County focusing primarily on civil rights litigation and criminal defense. She also spent 4 years as a staff attorney with Neighborhood Legal Services Program, a free legal services program in Washington, DC, where she represented indigent individuals in a wide range of civil legal matters. Michele graduated from Temple University School of Law in 1986.
Director of Operations
Tanya Rambert - Director of Operations
Tanya joined HAP on January 21, 2014, as the Director of Operations. She is thrilled to be at HAP, helping the organization best fulfill its mission of providing legal services and advocacy to homeless individuals and families in Philadelphia.
Tanya worked at the Philadelphia Bar Association as the staff accountant for four years. For 17 years, she was employed at Philadelphia VIP holding many management positions. Tanya holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. She also earned a certificate in Human Resource Management from the Nonprofit Center at LaSalle University in 2008, and currently pursuing her certification in HR management. Her professional background includes legal services, human resource management, administration, operations management, finance, and technology.
Patricia Malley, Esq.
Senior Staff Attorney
Patricia Malley, Esq. - Senior Staff Attorney
Patricia Malley joined the Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) in 2003 and is the Senior Staff Attorney. She provides direct legal representation to homeless individuals and families in a wide array of civil legal matters and supervises volunteer attorneys and legal assistants in their pro bono representation of HAP clients. Pat manages HAP’s largest SOAR (SSI/SSDI Outreach Access and Recovery) Project, an expedited federal disability application project for homeless men and women.
Prior to joining the HAP staff, Pat worked with a civil litigation law office focusing on civil rights, criminal defense and personal injury cases. After graduating from Temple University School of Law in 1986, Pat was a staff attorney for North PA Legal Services in Towanda, Pennsylvania.
Michael Taub, Esq.
Michael Taub, Esq. Supervising Attorney
Michael Taub is a Staff Attorney and Director of The Homeless Advocacy Project’s Veterans Project, where he has worked since 2003. He represents homeless veterans on their claims and appeals for VA benefits, and supervises pro bono attorneys who volunteer to represent homeless veterans on their VA claims and appeals. Michael is nationally recognized for his exceptional work on behalf of his veteran clients and has trained attorneys on VA benefits law at some of the nation’s largest law firms in Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Atlanta, and Washington DC.
Laura Kolb, Esq.
Laura Kolb, Esq. - Staff Attorney
Laura Kolb joined the Homeless Advocacy Project in 2004 as a Staff Attorney and Supervisor of the Children, Youth, and Families Project. She provides direct legal representation to children and families experiencing homelessness on a wide range of civil legal matters and conducts legal clinics at family shelters and youth drop-in centers. Since 2009, Laura has managed the DHS SOAR (SSI Outreach Access & Recovery) Project, an expedited SSI application program designed to provide rapid access to disability benefits for homeless and at risk youth and families.
Laura received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Edinboro University, and her J.D. from Temple Law School. Prior to entering law school, she was the Children’s Intake Team Supervisor at the Mental Health Base Service Unit in Erie, PA.
Meg Retz, Esq.
Meg Retz, Esq. - Staff Attorney
Margaret (Meg) Retz joined the Homeless Advocacy Project staff in September 2006 as an Independence Foundation Fellow representing street homeless men and women in claims before the Social Security Administration. Now a staff attorney, Meg supervises legal clinics at five Philadelphia shelters and soup kitchens.
Prior to joining HAP’s staff, Meg coordinated the Pennsylvania Asylee Outreach Project at HIAS PA. Meg received her B.A. from Loyola University in 2000 and graduated from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law in 2005.
Alie Muolo, Esq.
Alie Muolo, Esq. - Staff Attorney
Alie Muolo joined the Homeless Advocacy Project in September 2014 as an Independence Foundation Fellow. Her fellowship project established the Veterans SOAR Project, which is designed to secure stable income for disabled veterans experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of homelessness who are either ineligible for VA benefits or waiting for a decision on their VA benefits claim.
Alie graduated from Saint Joseph’s University, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and earned her law degree from Villanova University School of Law, cum laude, where she was student works editor of the Villanova Law Review and director of the Public Interest Fellowship Program. Prior to law school, Alie worked as a case manager at a homeless shelter through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, a full-time volunteer program.
Joel Sobel, Esq.
Joel Sobel, Esq. - Staff Attorney
Joel Sobel, who spent a summer with the Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) in 2017, has come on board in 2019 as a Staff Attorney. Joel provides direct legal representation to homeless individuals and veterans in a wide array of civil legal matters. Joel previously worked in criminal defense, specifically in a program designed to reduce recidivism for those suffering from substance abuse issues by linking them to treatment and case management services.
Joel received his B.A. in history from the Pennsylvania State University. He then attended Temple University Beasley School of Law in the evenings and worked full-time during the day. Joel graduated cum laude and was a Rubin Public Interest Law Honor Society Fellow.
Ann Mintz - Development Manager
Her undergraduate degree is from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also pursued graduate studies in archaeology.
Madeline Sherry, Esq.
Madeline Sherry - Volunteer Coordinator
Madeline Sherry joined the Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) in 2018 as the Volunteer Coordinator. Madeline recruits and retains law firms and corporate legal departments for HAP’s “Adopt-a-Shelter” program. She organizes introductory and substantive legal training for volunteers and supports them in their representation of HAP clients.
Prior to joining the HAP staff, Madeline was a partner in a regional law firm where she focused her practice in civil litigation. She has a long standing history of community service, both related to her profession as an attorney, and on a personal level with projects designed to help the community at large. Madeline has been involved with HAP since its inception, has served as the President of the Board, and has performed volunteer service with HAP for many years.
Kay Lawal - Paralegal
Kay Lawal joined the Homeless Advocacy Project in 2019 as a paralegal. She works on the DHS SOAR (SSI Outreach Access & Recovery) Project, specifically with youths aging out of foster care and parents trying to achieve reunification with their children.
Prior to joining HAP, Kay worked in private practice, assisting clients with Social Security benefits, Employment Law issues, Civil Rights violations, and Workers’ Compensation cases. Kay previously attended the University of Virginia School of Law where she was involved in the Domestic Violence Project and volunteered with the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society for two years. Kay also participated in a Poverty Law clinic, assisting clients who were applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans Benefits.
Patrick McNeil - Legal Assistant
Patrick McNeil joined HAP to work on the SOAR Project (SSI/SSDI Outreach and Recovery) in early 2018. Prior to that, Patrick was as a social worker for Resources for Human Development, working directly with those in shelters diagnosed as mentally ill, linking them with treatment, housing resources, benefits, and more. He received his Master’s in Education from Temple in 2011, and has taught in Strawberry Mansion and El Centro High schools. Community is important to him.
To that end, he organizes Philadelphia’s own Backyard Writers Workshop and founded the Writers Retreat in Tufo, Italy. Patrick’s own writing has appeared in Philadelphia Stories, The Head and the Hand’s Shockwire Chapbook Series, Italian American Magazine, and more.
Joy Harris - Office Assistant
Joy Harris joined the Homeless Advocacy Project in 2014, as an Office Assistant. Joy enjoys working with HAP. She is happy to assist when and where ever needed. For her it has been quite an experience working with the HAP staff and HAP’s clients. In the future she hopes to open a shelter of her own to assist families in need, helping them to get on their feet and achieve goals they have for themselves! Joy is currently a student at Temple University, studying to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Pathology.
Margianne Smith - Office Administrator
Margianne Smith has been employed with HAP for 15 years as the Office Administrator. As Administrator, she is responsible for handling telephone calls and referring client walk-ins, assessing their needs and linking them with volunteers, staff attorneys, legal or social service providers as needed. She also manages all client matters involving birth records requests approximately 920 cases annually. A birth certificate helps clients obtain identification and housing.
Prior to her employment with HAP, Margianne was employed with Reed Technology Information Services, Rooster Inc. Corporation and Mercy Hospital. Margianne holds a Business Administrator Certificate from Campus Boulevard Corporation. She has also taken business courses at Community College of Philadelphia.