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Mayor Kenney’s new task force to help fight city’s eviction crisis

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They’ll study and make a plan to combat an “underreported crisis in our city”

A glassy apartment building with balconies.
The new Eviction Task Force will come up with a plan to combat Philly’s eviction epidemic.
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Late last week, Mayor Jim Kenney announced that he has put together a 27-person task force to address the city’s eviction crisis.

Signing the executive order establishing the Eviction Task Force on Friday, Kenney called Philly’s eviction problem an “epidemic,” stating that the city is in the middle of a shortage of safe and affordable housing for low-income renters and that “this epidemic has enormous costs, both economically and socially.”

Last year, 24,000 evictions were filed in the city. And between 2010 and 2015, one in fourteen renters were faced with formal eviction hearings.

The group is chaired by Liz Hersh, the director of the Office of Homeless Services and Mitchell Little, the director of the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity. In total, the task force consists of 27 people who have backgrounds in landlord-tenant matters, legal services and other housing-related fields.

They’ll be tasked with studying the city’s eviction crisis, including who in particular are effected by it. The task force will also come up with a plan to prevent evictions and reduce their detrimental effects on tenants.

Their first meeting will take place this month and an initial draft of their plan will be published in April.

The establishment of the task force comes on the heels of City Council and the Department of Planning and Development’s allocation of $500,000 to help renters fight eviction. Councilwoman Helen Gym, who spearheaded initial efforts to tackle the city’s eviction epidemic, said in statement, “Today we continue that effort by putting our best minds together to study an underreported crisis in our city—the scourge of evictions that overwhelmingly impacts communities of color, especially women and the families they head.”

A city spokeswoman said members of the task force are still being cleared. This article will be updated when the full list is released.