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‘This Is Momentous’: Philly To Guarantee Lawyers For Some Renters Facing Eviction

Starting Tuesday, hundreds of Philadelphia renters will be guaranteed free legal representation if their landlord files for eviction.

Going into effect six months after the end of a federal ban on lockouts, at a time when many still wrestle with the fallout of pandemic-fueled financial woes, the new right-to-counsel program aims to help low-income residents remain in their homes, and help others leave under better terms if their cases end with them having to move out (for example, getting their security deposits back).

Even before the pandemic, Philadelphia ranked fourth in the nation among large U.S cities for evictions, averaging 20,000 a year, with only a small fraction of those facing eviction showing up to court with a lawyer.

“This is momentous,” Rachel Garland, managing attorney of the housing unit at Community Legal Services, said of the program, part of a package of pro-renter legislation.

Read more from PBS here>>