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Philadelphia council votes to extend eviction diversion

  • The Associated Press
The Philadelphia Sheriff enforces an eviction order.

Bas Slabbers / WHYY

The Philadelphia Sheriff enforces an eviction order.

(Philadelphia) — Philadelphia’s eviction diversion program that gained national attention during the pandemic is set to continue through 2022.

The program requires landlords to participate in mediation with tenants and apply for rental assistance at least 45 days before filing an eviction request with the courts and was set to expire at the end of the year. The city council voted Thursday to continue the program locally through December 2022 as long as there is enough rental assistance.

The city council initiative will go to the mayor for a signature before the extension becomes official. Philadelphia, where almost 50% of residents are renters, has asked for an additional $485 million in federal funds for rental assistance.

Supporters of the diversion program say more than 90% of the almost 2,500 evictions cases that entered the program during the pandemic resulted in people staying in their apartments either through mediated payment plans or continued negotiations. They also say the program has become a model for other municipalities that have adopted similar mediation programs and has disbursed more than $200 million in rental assistance.

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