Stoneleigh Fellow Vincent Reina authored an opinion piece for The Philadelphia Inquirer about the present opportunity to create more permanent stability for renters and landlords.
Since May 2020, Philadelphia’s emergency rental assistance program has made nearly 40,000 payments to landlords and tenants, providing over $251 million in aid. This assistance is a lifeline to tens of thousands of families. Without it, many would have been evicted, ended up homeless, or had to make difficult decisions about putting food on the table vs. paying rent.
Unfortunately, because of a shortage of federal funds, Philadelphia’s program recently stopped accepting applications. It will be hard-pressed to serve all of those who have already applied.
Although the end of the program is unfortunate, to those of us working in housing in the city, it came as little surprise. We all knew that the programs set up to provide aid during COVID-19 were temporary, and the federal funds would run out. Now it’s time to use the lessons we learned to create something more permanent that can provide stability for renters and landlords.