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Rents are high and housing vouchers are hard to get. So Philly is giving renters cash

By Jennifer Ludden, NPR | March 19, 2024

Stoneleigh Fellow Vincent Reina spoke to NPR about his work to help Philadelphia develop the PHLHousing+ program, which gives the city’s renters cash to help with their housing costs.

Angie Atkins has been on a waitlist for a federal housing voucher for the better part of a decade. During that time, her rent in northwest Philadelphia kept rising, year after year, until it was eating up three-quarters of her income.

“When I did my monthly budget, I had to live off $156 a month,” she says. “It’s crazy, and no public assistance or anything.”

Atkins is 37, upbeat and quick to laugh. She manages an accountant’s office. And as a single mom with two kids, providing food for her family has been a priority. She sold her car to save money. But in 2022, she fell behind on rent and faced possible eviction. Then, Atkins had a surreal moment.

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