Fully funding eviction defense is the fiscally responsible thing to do

Housing issues go beyond how expensive it is to rent or buy in the city, but also how to provide more stability among homeowners and tenants in the places they currently occupy.

Editorial (Pennsylvania)

Philadelphia Inquirer
March 14, 2019

Tags: Housing: Eviction, Housing: Right to Counsel

Organizations mentioned/involved: Philadelphia Bar Association


Evictions have a terrible domino effect: tenants are often unjustly evicted with no time to find a new place, and often, with hits to credit scores that make finding new housing difficult. In New York, for example, a quarter of families with children who enter a homeless shelter do so because of an eviction.

One approach to addressing this eviction crisis is providing legal representation for low-income tenants in court. According to a November 2018 report conducted by the Stout consulting firm and commissioned by the Philadelphia Bar Association, having a lawyer in Philadelphia housing court reduces the probability of a “disruptive displacement” from 78 percent to 5 percent.

In 2017, Mayor Jim Kenney announced $400,000 from the general fund plus $100,000 in grant money to the Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project — $500,000 total. He also convened the Mayor’s Task Force on Eviction Prevention Response. The task force published a report with 17 recommendations, including increasing support for legal aid for tenants.