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10Jul

Task Force Has 17 Ideas for Fixing Philly’s Eviction Problem

The city’s Eviction Task Force issued recommendations to Mayor Kenney on Tuesday, calling for more robust mediation programs between landlords and tenants, a one-stop resource center for tenants facing evictions, and a small-loan program for low-income landlords.

Last year in the city there were 22,500 eviction filings. That’s 1 for every 14 renters. Not all of those filings resulted in renters having to move but the data also does not include illegal lockouts and informal evictions. Nationally, aging housing stock, rising rental costs, and a lack of affordable units have created a crisis for renters.

About 45 percent of city residents rent their housing.

The 22-member task force met monthly for eight months to produce the report, which includes 17 recommendations in four categories:  education, resources, housing standards and legal processes. At a news conference Tuesday, Kenney said the city would work to implement some of the ideas.

“We’re trying to create some greater flexibility in the process so we can get as close to a win-win situation as possible,” said Liz Hersh, the director of the Office of Homeless Services. “Whether it’s getting repairs that are needed, whether there’s financial assistance available, whether its coming to some agreement about what is an adequate rent to be paid, we’re trying to expand the options available to landlords and tenants so that the only logical outcome isn’t an eviction.”

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