Philadelphia Sees Election Season Housing Push

A recent report commissioned by a Philadelphia Bar Association task force suggests that if Philadelphia invested $3.5 million a year in legal aid for tenants facing eviction, it could save $45.2 million in costs related to homelessness, court costs, and neighborhood and family instability.

News Story (Pennsylvania)

Jared Brey
NextCity.org
March 19, 2019
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Tags: Housing: Eviction, Housing: Right to Counsel

Organizations mentioned/involved: Philadelphia Bar Association


DETAILS

Another bill, which would create a Low-Income Tenant Legal Defense Fund, also carries on a policy conversation about tenant legal protections that has been active for years. In 2017, City Council Member Helen Gym’s office helped secure $500,000to pilot a program, called the Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project (PEPP), that helps tenants get access to legal aid in landlord-tenant court. In its first year, according to an annual report, PEPP provided more than 1,100 tenants with expert legal advice, distributed 8,000 tenant resource guides and assisted more than 2,500 tenants via a tenant help line. The city increased the allocation to $850,000 last summer.

Gym co-sponsored a bill in March that would appear to make the Low-Income Tenant Legal Defense Fund more permanent. The bill “brings our city another step closer to guaranteeing the right to counsel and expands on the city’s anti-eviction work, which has been a central priority of my office,” Gym said in a statement.