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The EHPA will go in front of the full City Council on June 18. Photo: Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio
The EHPA will go in front of the full City Council on June 18. Photo: Holli Stephens/KYW Newsradio

One step closer to COVID-19 housing relief in Philadelphia: EHPA advances out of committee

On June 5, Philadelphia City Council’s Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and Homelessness passed five of six bills part of the Emergency Housing…

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Last Friday, June 5, Philadelphia City Council advanced five of the six bills part of its Emergency Housing Protections Act out of the Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and Homelessness.

The package of bills, geared towards protecting the city from what its proponents have called a pending “avalanche of evictions” on the day the city’s eviction courts reopen in July, were first announced back on May 1.

Councilmembers Helen Gym, Kendra Brooks and Jamie Gauthier put forth two bills a piece to make up the six total.

Brooks’ bills propose a rent freeze for the duration of the pandemic emergency order and for a year after, and prohibit landlords from charging late fees on rents during the pandemic and for two months after.

Gauthier’s would allow renters with financial hardship to pay rent over an extended period of time, and provide protections for renters against illegal landlord lockouts.

Gym’s institute an eviction diversion program where renters and landlords can create individual pay back plans and prevent evictions during the pandemic and for two months after the emergency order is lifted in Philadelphia.

A first public hearing on the package happened on May 29, where both tenants and landlords came together in support of EHPA. 

There was another public hearing on June 5, before the committee voted on the bills.

All but Brooks’ calling for a rent freeze were passed unanimously, which was struck down by a four-to-three vote.

The five remaining bills will be introduced to all of City Council on June 18, three weeks before landlords can start filing evictions again on July 10.

This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among more than 20 news organizations, focused on economic mobility in Philadelphia. Read all of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org.

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