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Can Landlords Compromise? This Anti-Eviction Program Says Yes

An eviction mediation program launched in Philadelphia during the pandemic will outlast the city's moratorium and is dramatically reducing the number of tenants kicked out of their homes.

Tenants rights groups in Philadelphia rallied in front of the building where the Landlord-Tenant Court is held to support the city's eviction moratorium in 2020. (Photo by Cory Clark/NurPhoto via AP)

Eviction is a key cause of poverty — that much is clear. As the pandemic unfolded, so did the urgency for solutions that keep tenants in their homes long after moratoriums end. One Philadelphia program has found a way to reduce eviction filings by 75 percent.

The eviction diversion program requires landlords to seek mediation with their tenants before they can file for eviction in court. In this episode of the podcast, Next City executive director Lucas Grindley talks with housing correspondent Roshan Abraham about the connection between poverty and eviction. We also meet Rasheedah Phillips, who was an attorney with Community Legal Services when she helped launch the program in 2020. Phillips says landlords understand the effects of eviction.

“And in my cynical hat on, they do it very intentionally,” says Phillips, who is now housing director for PolicyLink. “They utilize that process very intentionally because they think they have a right to use that process…. At the heart of it are these very entrenched values that are a part of our structure as a society around how we think about property — and how we think about property rights — and that it's the ultimate.”

Listen to this episode below, or subscribe to Next City’s podcast on Apple and Spotify.

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