By Kia Hinton
Rent-burdened families clearly have lower savings than do the non-burdened. In a 2015 study 64% of rent-burdened families, including the severely burdened, had less than $400 in savings. When considered by race a vast majority (84%) of African-American rent-burdened households had less than $400, compared with 54%of similar white households. And as of 2015, more than half of black rent-burdened households had no savings versus just 16% of burdened white households. Households that lack liquid savings have more difficulty coping with unexpected expenses and income volatility, making them more vulnerable to long-term material hardship. Add in a pandemic and the rent burdened easily can become part of the homeless population which is quickly rising.
Fortunately for Philadelphians, City Council implemented the Eviction Diversion Program. The City of Philadelphia’s Eviction Diversion Program enables landlords and tenants to arrive at an agreement that works for both parties, without having to go to Court. This program is required for all landlords with tenants who have had difficulty paying rent due to a COVID-19 related hardship. Benefits of diversion and mediation include helping tenants avoid an eviction, while also helping landlords avoid vacancies and unit turnover costs. To schedule a mediation, landlords must first submit a request through the web portal. Once it is confirmed that the request is complete, the landlord and tenant will be scheduled for a mediation conference within 30 days. Qualified tenants and landlords can still apply for rental assistance until September 30.
For more information contact Save Your Home Philly Hotline at 215-334-HOME (4663) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.