March 06, 2019
Philadelphia Bar Association Applauds Announcement of Low-Income Tenant Legal Defense Fund
New Fund Announced Today Follows Bar Association’s Stout Report Estimating Significant Cost Savings by Providing Access to Counsel to Low-Income Tenants Facing Eviction
The Philadelphia Bar Association, the oldest association of lawyers in the United States, today applauds Council President Darrell L. Clarke and members of Philadelphia City Council for proposing a Low-Income Tenant Legal Defense Fund for low-income tenants facing eviction in the city’s budget for FY 2020. The fund follows a recent report commissioned by the Philadelphia Bar Association estimating significant cost savings by investing in a right to counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction.
“Today Council President Clarke and other members of Philadelphia City Council took a step forward in helping protect our city’s residents from facing evictions due to a lack of access to legal counsel. The groundbreaking Stout Report commissioned by the Philadelphia Bar Association demonstrates that funding counsel for low-income tenants who face the loss of their homes through eviction is an excellent financial investment and will save the city $12 for every $1 spent. Providing access to legal counsel is among the most effective measures to prevent the costs, both financial and human, resulting from evictions and homelessness. We urge the City Council to allocate sufficient funding to guarantee access to legal counsel for all eligible low-income tenants facing eviction,” said Chancellor Rochelle M. Fedullo.
According to a study commissioned by the association, “Economic Return on Investment of Providing Counsel in Philadelphia Eviction Cases for Low-Income Tenants,” by providing free representation to low-income tenants facing eviction, the city can help keep people in their homes while saving $12 for every $1 spent. The study was performed pro bono by Stout Risius Ross, LLC, a leading valuation advisory, investment banking, dispute consulting and management consulting firm.
Stout determined that unrepresented tenants are disruptively displaced due to eviction in approximately 78 percent of cases, as compared with represented tenants, who are disruptively displaced due to eviction in only approximately 5 percent of cases. By being represented, many low-income individuals each year would avoid being disruptively displaced.
The announcement comes on the eve of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s 2019 Chancellor’s Forum on Monday, March 11th bringing together Philadelphia city leaders to discuss the need for funding of a right to counsel for low-income residents facing eviction and its impact on the city.
To attend the event, please register here. More information about the proposal will be available at the Forum.