PHILADELPHIA—Today, Councilmember Helen Gym (At Large), Jamie Gauthier (3rd District), and Kendra Brooks (At Large) issued the following statement calling on Harrisburg to extend the state eviction moratorium, which expires today. The Councilmembers are the authors of Philadelphia City Council’s Emergency Housing Protections Act, which was the first jurisdiction to establish an August 31 eviction moratorium, eviction diversion and rent repayment plans among other protections. Over 3,000 evictions have already been filed and could be carried out this month, and thousands more are expected to be filed in court.
“With 381,000 Pennsylvanians behind on rent in July, the expiration of the state’s eviction moratorium could mean a massive wave of evictions leading to homelessness for many,” said Councilmember Gym, who chairs the Committee on Children and Youth. “This is a matter of life and death. City Council is not in session for a few more weeks, but the state can and must act now. If the moratorium is not extended, mass evictions will reflect a conscious choice. I’m calling on Harrisburg to extend the eviction moratorium. Working together, we can save families from homelessness, ensure that landlords ultimately get paid, and prevent the trauma and chaos of eviction that threatens the lives of our neighbors.”
“At least eleven states have eviction moratoriums that extend beyond Pennsylvania’s,” said Councilmember Gauthier, Chair of City Council’s Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development, and the Homeless. “We have programs which could be a national model – like a pre-filing Emergency Eviction Diversion Program, which will provide housing counseling services and even rent subsidies upon its launch in September. We established payment plans and other protections, but we need more time – and we need the state to prioritize housing stability.”
“For the long-term stability and well-being of our communities, Harrisburg must extend the eviction moratorium,”said Councilmember Brooks, Chair of City Council’s Committee on Inter-generational Affairs and Aging. “People across the city are struggling against reduced unemployment benefits, rising gun violence, and the ongoing threat of COVID-19. It would be short-sighted and heartless to allow the eviction moratorium to expire without additional planning and preparation.”