City of Philadelphia

City launches new program to support tenants facing eviction

Posted on February 12, 2018

Most of the time when renters go to Philadelphia’s landlord-tenant court, they lose. Advocates say that’s because the vast majority of renters cannot afford a lawyer, while the vast majority of landlords can.

The City of Philadelphia took a step towards addressing this power imbalance — one that disproportionately hits neighborhoods where a majority of residents are black and brown — with the launch of a slate of new and improved legal services for tenants at risk of losing their homes. Funded by a $500,000 budget allocation won by Councilperson Helen Gym last year, the new programs include a lawyer-for-a-day program that will offer on-call assistance in the courtroom two days a week, staffed by legal aid attorneys from the Legal Clinic for the Disabled and the Senior Law Center, as well as a website answering common legal questions, an improved tenant aid hotline (267-443-2500) and full-time service in a Landlord-Tenant Help Center located in the courtroom. That help center will be staffed through Community Legal Services, a Center City nonprofit. CLS will put some of the city money towards hiring a lawyer to focus on clients facing eviction.

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