August 2021
Profile of door with keys dangling from lock
Centers for Disease Control Extends Eviction
Moratorium to October 3
By Jessica Humphries, PEC Manager, Prevention & Diversion Services

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) extended its eviction moratorium to October 3, giving a short reprieve to many of Philadelphia's renters. While some federal money has flowed into the city to alleviate rental debt, it has not been enough to assist the thousands of renters in Philly who are facing eviction due to unpaid rent. In addition, program restrictions and administrative delays at the city level have slowed the process of disbursing what money is available.

Times are hard for many renters. Take, for example, Celeste (name changed to protect her privacy). Celeste lives in West Philadelphia with her three children. After losing her job due to the pandemic in 2020, she fell behind on rent. She qualified for unemployment compensation, but it was a fraction of her former salary, and she was unable to catch up. While the CDC moratorium prevents lockouts, it does not halt eviction court hearings. Since Philadelphia’s courts reopened in the spring, landlords have been taking tenants – like Celeste – to court for eviction. Celeste's landlord was awarded a writ of possession, the last legal order needed to evict her. The only thing that stopped them from locking her out was the eviction moratorium.

Fortunately, Celeste qualified for rent assistance from PEC, and we were able to clear her debt and prevent the eviction. But hundreds of households in Philadelphia have not been so lucky. And in less than 60 days their landlords, writs in hand, have the power to evict them. A number of these families are expected to turn to the homeless services system for help.

Renters and landlords can apply for assistance: Renters having trouble paying your rent, utilities, or other housing costs – and landlords trying to stay afloat with tenants in this situation – can find help at Rental Assistance Finder (click here). The site also includes information to help renters and landlords understand other resources to help navigate various financial hardships related to the pandemic. In Philadelphia, visit Phase 4 rent assistance: www.phlrentassist.org, or Eviction Prevention Project for legal help: www.phillytenant.org

Updated information about PEC's rental assistance program can be found by clicking the button below.
boy with red mask smiling
Register Now for the Children Can't Wait Summit
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
from 9 AM to 12 Noon
It will be virtual. 

The theme of this year’s summit is “Children Can’t Wait: How Pennsylvania Can Lead in Supporting Children Experiencing Homelessness.”

The Summit will be moderated by PEC’s Early Childhood Education Director Roslyn Edwards. Omari Baye, PEC's BELL Program Manager, will deliver a special announcement.

Our Keynote speaker will be John McLaughlin, Education Program Specialist with the United States Department of Education. Mr. McLaughlin oversees the national implementation of the McKinney-Vento homeless education system.  

In addition, a panel of experts will share new their views and offer recommendations. The panel will include:

  • Tracey Campanini, Deputy Secretary, Office of Child Development and Early, PA Department of Human Services, will share new policies and procedures that support young children experiencing homelessness.

  • Donna Cooper, Executive Director of Children First, will discuss K-12 education challenges, how American Rescue Plan should be deployed, and what policymakers need to do.

  • Tracy Duarte, Director of the PA Head Start Collaboration Office will talk about a new report of homeless children accessing Head Start across Commonwealth and recent efforts to increase enrollments.

  • Barbara Duffield, Executive Director of the Schoolhouse Connection, will discuss national trends and how American Rescue Plan should be deployed.

Learn more, and register, by clicking on the button.
A Parent's Perspective
PEC’s emergency housing case managers asked parents about their experiences living in shelter during the pandemic. Below is one mother’s story in her own words (with some edits due to space limitations). She lived in shelter with her three children for 13 months while she waited for subsidized housing units or rapid re-housing funds to become available.

 “I never thought I would have been here so long. The pandemic hit and my life really took a turn for the worse. I work in the restaurant industry, and I was literally out of work since this whole thing started. I was saving money prior to COVID but I had to use my savings because I was out of work. I am just getting back to a place that is comfortable, like I can now put some breathing room between me and the last 13 months. I am working on rebuilding my savings and I can finally feel excited because I was selected for Rapid Rehousing. I think now that I am moving into my own house finally, we can get back on track.”

Will more families like hers look for emergency housing as a solution when the eviction moratorium ends in October? Only time will tell, but we do know that the affordable housing system is already overburdened, with hundreds of families waiting years for assistance.

You can help us increase our community of advocates for improved housing policies by sharing this story with your network, and letting them know they can sign up for the PEC Perspective at www.pec-cares.org/newsletters.
Youth who have experienced housing insecurity discussed the issues they faced at a conference held by PEC's Youth HEALers.
New Paper Demonstrates Value of Transitional Housing for Youth 
PEC’s latest “BrainGain” summarizes a new report by Covenant House International, National Network for Youth, and SchoolHouse Connection (2021), “To Become the Best Version of Myself: Youth-Supportive Transitional Housing Programs as An Essential Resource for Addressing Youth Homelessness.”

The original report examined records of 564 young people who exited transitional housing programs in 15 U.S. cities over a 12-month period. It demonstrates the need for transitional programs for youth and young adults experiencing unaccompanied homelessness while also providing recommendations on how to adequately support these individuals to become stably housed. Click the button below to read the BrainGain.
In case you missed it: New Data Released on Youth Experiencing Homelessness 
By guest columnist Dr. JJ Cutuli
Nemours Children’s Health System
and PEC Visiting Scholar

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a research team from Nemours Children’s Health and the University of Pennsylvania found 509,025 public high school students in 24 states experienced homelessness in spring 2019. This number is three times the number of students recognized by the states’ education agencies as eligible for support under the McKinney-Vento legislation. The graph below shows the discrepancy in numbers of homeless students between the CDC data and the state or local education agency data.

Find out more by either reading the original report, listening to our June 18th forum discussing the paper, and/or reviewing the PowerPoint slides of the presentation. Click on the button below and look for "High School Students Experiencing Homelessness: Findings from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System."
Opportunities to Share your Perspective with PEC

Take a short survey about our brand!
PEC's 50th anniversary will be in September of 2022. In honor of this milestone, we are undertaking a brand assessment, and we want to hear from you! Our communications team will be creating a series of brief surveys to find out how you feel about our mission, services, and impact. Take a short survey by clicking here. Thank you for your thoughts!

Free Live Jazz!
Join us for the virtual, live streamed, Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival: A Tribute to Grover Washington, Jr., Saturday, September 18, Starts at 12 Noon. Visit www.lancasteravephilly.com/jazzfest.

Join our team!
PEC is looking for dynamic, motivated, and talented individuals to join its team and help lay the foundation for the agency’s next phase of growth. Find out more at www.pec-cares.org/careers-at-pec.