Will Philly pass an eviction moratorium until 2021?
PA Governor Tom Wolf has joined members of Philly City Council to introduce legislation extending the city's eviction moratorium until Dec. 31, 2020.
It’s been almost two weeks since Philadelphia and Pennsylvania’s eviction moratorium ended on Aug. 31, and beyond further short delays announced by Philadelphia court officials and HAPCO, there are still thousands of Philadelphians facing removal from their homes.
In the city, 70% of all evictions target Black residents, 74% involve women and half also involve families, according to the Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project.
Philadelphia City Council, in an effort to stay ahead of the eviction wave, has already passed and begun implementing facets of its Emergency Housing Protections Act (EHPA), and on Sept.10 introduced another extension to the city’s expired moratorium to Dec. 31.
The legislation was introduced by Councilmember Helen Gym, and cosponsored by councilmembers Kendra Brooks, Jamie Gauthier, Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Curtis Jones, Kenyatta Johnson, and Isaiah Thomas.
“In Philadelphia, we have made progress in launching new programs and solutions, but restarting an eviction process that kicks thousands of families out of their homes right now does not make sense,” said Gym in a statement.
EHPA was the product of a summer of brainstorming and fighting for relief programs to provide long-term support. Now, Gym said, they need “time” to implement them.
As part of EHPA, the city now has an eviction diversion program that tenants can enter into with their landlords to resolve issues before resulting in eviction. It also implemented the previous eviction moratorium that ended on Aug. 31.
With no clear moratorium in place, all that’s kept eviction court from operating business as usual are protesters physically blocking the entrance to the court and short delays announced by court officials and HAPCO.
Last week, the CDC also enacted its own eviction moratorium until Dec. 31 that is based on income loss due to COVID-19. It requires applicants to fill out a declaration of income to be exempt.
Much like the EHPA’s eviction diversion program, it needs time to be disseminated and processed.
The CDC's national eviction moratorium is an important step forward. But many Philadelphians aren’t aware of criteria/steps you have to take to be protected - and that’s why we need to extend the City’s eviction thru Dec 31.
Proud to stand with @HelenGymAtLarge on this issue. https://t.co/al0cfrDiKU
— Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (@CouncilmemberJG) September 10, 2020
A day before the eviction moratorium extension was announced at City Council’s first Fall session, PA Governor Tom Wolf also showed support for the measure.
“No one should be forced out of their home because of the pandemic,” he said. “A stable place to live is critical for families to protect their health and find and maintain a job. Without housing people are at risk of contracting COVID-19, losing employment and ending up on the streets. We cannot allow that to happen.”
Wolf also drove home that he will continue to press the state legislature to pass a similar measure statewide.
The bill must pass committee before being reintroduced for a final passage at a later full City Council meeting in the coming weeks.
If passed, Philadelphia will join 10 other states that have passed additional eviction moratoriums until at least Sept. 30.