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Housing on the Agenda as Philadelphia Election Approaches

In the run-up to a municipal primary scheduled for May 21, Philadelphia's City Council has introduced a range of bills to address housing affordability and tenants' rights.
April 13, 2019, 9am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Jim Capaldi

"Since 2015, the last time Philadelphians elected a new mayor and City Council, cities around the United States have begun trying to address their housing crises with a variety of housing policies," Jared Brey writes. With a May primary election on the horizon, Philadelphia councilmembers have put forward five bills touching on the issue.

One of them draws on ongoing conversations about inclusionary zoning. It would "require that any public land that is sold for multifamily development set aside at least a third of the units for low-income tenants," essentially mandating inclusionary policies on city-owned land, but only for multifamily developments and not single-family ones.

Another bill takes its inspiration from Councilmember Helen Gym's pilot Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Project, proposing a Low-Income Tenant Legal Defense Fund that could, according to one report, save $45.2 million per year in costs attributable to homelessness and related issues for an annual outlay of only $3.5 million.

Other bills include legislation to restrict what kind of background information landlords can access, to establish an affordable housing tax credit, and to stipulate that ads for rental listing services include city rental license numbers.

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Published on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 in Next City
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