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- Discuss how Philadelphia's Eviction Diversion Program enabled landlords and tenants to arrive at agreements that work for both parties, without going to court.
- Assess the role of partners in administering eviction-diversion programs and adjusting to federal mandates, local legislation, and funding.
- Consider how to administer direct assistance and keep landlords whole and tenants in their homes.
Philadelphia's Eviction Diversion Program grew out of a City Council mandate in the summer of 2020. The city and its partners quickly came together to develop the initial framework, ensuring the guidelines adhered to local protective measures.
Both the staggering demand for services — more than 19,000 eviction filings were taking place annually prior to the COVID-19 pandemic — and the logistics of launching and sustaining a virtual program that responded to COVID health risks presented significant challenges. Time constraints also were a factor. Local- and national-level eviction moratoriums were constantly expiring and renewing with minimal advance warning. Funding, including rapidly evaporating rental assistance, was a consistent concern. Legislation and regulations have required the program to evolve and build on its foundation to meet unexpected demands. Learn how these challenges and pain points were addressed and overcome.
The presentation demonstrates effective leveraging of partnerships among the Administration, City Council, housing-counseling agencies, legal-assistance organizations, tenants, landlords, and the First Judicial District Court to make Philadelphia a national leader in keeping tenants in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.