Guest Oped: A decade after the 2008 foreclosure crisis, Northwest Philadelphia is fighting back

Northwest Philadelphia’s middle neighborhoods have tremendous strengths, but have been shaken by the disruptions of the foreclosure crisis. The legal aid organizations coming together through the CRLA project seek to help these communities use this strength to prevail over the challenges they face.

Op-Ed (Pennsylvania)

Claudia De Palma
Montgomery News
July 24, 2019
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Tags: Housing: Foreclosure

Organizations mentioned/involved: Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Legal Assistance


DETAILS

Residents can get free help in a number of ways. Through the CRLA project, Community Legal Services (CLS) and Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA) are helping homeowners avoid property tax foreclosure by addressing delinquent property tax bills. Many area homeowners—especially those who inherited their homes—also lack the clear documentation needed to sell their property, enter into repayment plans, or receive grants to make repairs. CLS’s Homeownership and Consumer Rights Unit is helping homeowners address these “tangled title” issues. Meanwhile, CLS’s Energy Unit is helping homeowners and renters tackle unpaid utility bills, helping them access payment programs and defending them against shutoffs.

As part of these efforts to promote neighborhood stability, legal aid organizations are also helping residents increase their household incomes. PLA is representing individuals who are having difficulty claiming federal tax refunds, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, or who are dealing with IRS debts, as well as those who need assistance obtaining unemployment compensation or other public benefits. The Public Interest Law Center is lowering barriers to employment faced by residents with criminal records by providing Know Your Rights trainings to job-seekers and reaching out to area employers.