Housing Alliance Eviction Data Sheds Light on Issue in Lehigh County

Lehigh County has an evictions problem. Could a lawyer be the solution?

By: Graysen Golter

In the Allentown apartment where she was living with her three children, Felicia Cantave noticed leaking from the ceiling in multiple rooms, including one of her son’s and her daughter’s.

After a couple of years of the leaks not being addressed, Cantave said, she decided to stop paying rent in 2021.

As a result, she said, her landlord evicted her, taking the case to court, where he won. Cantave, 11-year-old Amir, 8-year-old Kamron and 1-year-old Kamora were forced to find a new home.

Staying in a hotel, Cantave had to make compromises such as asking people to look after her daughter while she worked as a transportation clerk, or missing work to watch her.

“I was living in a hotel for about six to seven months because no one wanted to rent me because of my eviction,” Cantave said. “It set me back a lot. I didn’t have day care, really too much of anything. My son also said to me something that broke my heart. I will never forget, he said, ‘Mom, I see you working so hard and we went from our big house to this little place. Maybe if I wasn’t here, it’d be easier for you.’ ”

Lehigh County had the fourth most evictions filed in the state in 2021, behind only Philadelphia, Allegheny and Dauphin counties, according to the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania. Based on the number of renters per county, the Housing Alliance found, Lehigh ranked No. 3 in the state, behind only Dauphin and York counties. (Northampton County ranked 12th in terms of overall evictions, and seventh in eviction rate). Read the full article here.