Broad Street Brief: Anti-Eviction Programs Extended as City Distributes Millions in Relief and Eyes Permanent Changes to Housing Policy, Philadelphia’s Pandemic Paid Leave Law Expires, But Other Labor Changes on the Horizon
July 15, 2021
July 15, 2021
Note: The Broad Street Brief will be published on a biweekly schedule until Philadelphia City Council reconvenes. As always, please reach out to a member of the Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies team if you have any questions.
Philadelphia’s eviction diversion and rental assistance programs will stay in effect until at least August 31, thanks to a favorable ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The city reports that over 35,000 have applied for rent relief, and that the city is on track to distribute $37 million in aid by September 1. While these programs were designed specifically to target pandemic-induced conditions, members of City Council are looking to turn elements of the program into permanent policy, with legislation restricting the use of an applicant’s eviction records in tenant selection passing City Council and Councilmembers Quiñones Sánchez and Gauthier looking to require affordable housing construction in developments in the third and seventh council districts.
A paid sick leave law enacted earlier this year has expired, but Philadelphia City Council is still working on ways to increase worker compensation as the pandemic wanes. Council recently passed a bill increasing compensation and health benefits for many workers at the Philadelphia International Airport and may pursue more once back in session.
Following legislative proposals earlier in the year and discussion around tax rates during budget negotiations, Mayor Kenney and Council President Clarke announced joint interest in making major changes to the city’s tax code. The newly created Philadelphia Tax Reform Working Group will look to create a “more equitable tax system that benefits every Philadelphia resident,” according to Council President Clarke, and recommendations will be used when creating next year’s budget.
Most City Council members cited working on anti-poverty legislation as a key goal during their summer recess, and new investments shed light on how council plans to raise 100,000 Philadelphians out of poverty by 2024. Part of a sweeping plan, council has already distributed $5 million in grants to neighborhood organizations that operate financial support programs and created bond programs to help increase the supply of affordable housing.
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