Tomorrow, the Philadelphia City Council will vote on Bill #190386, or “Right to Counsel Bill,” and the Philadelphia Bar Association is strongly urging that this legislation – which would guarantee a right to counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction – be enacted.
The Philadelphia Inquirer recently wrote that Philadelphia ranks fourth in the country in total evictions, with over 20,000 related cases filed each year. Only 11% of the tenants facing eviction have a lawyer, while 80% of the landlords have representation. Leveling the playing field will likely reduce homelessness and the needless displacement of many residents.
A study released by Stout Risius Ross LLC found that that “if the City of Philadelphia invested $3.5 million per year to fund counsel for eligible low-income tenants facing eviction, the city would save $45.2 million per year in quantifiable eviction-related shelter, medical and social service costs and expenses, a return of over $12 for every $1 spent.” A recent update by Stout found that “if the city invested $5 million in counsel for low-income tenants with household incomes under 200 percent of the federal poverty line, the City’s total estimated savings would be approximately $63 million.”
“This is a no-brainer,” noted Jarred I. Kassenoff, a partner at Newman Ferrara LLP. “The right to counsel is so fundamental, that this law should pass without controversy or debate.”
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To read Stout’s full study, click here.
To view the Bar Association’s press release on this issue, click here.