WASHINGTON — U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania today as part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s tour of American Rescue Plan programs this week. The Deputy Secretary’s trip, which comes a year after the American Rescue Plan Act was signed by President Biden, included an event highlighting Philadelphia’s highly successful Emergency Rental Assistance program. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, Philadelphia ERA program leaders, and recipient tenants and landlords joined Deputy Secretary Adeyemo to highlight how the program set a national example early on with its robust eviction diversion program that requires landlords to apply for ERA before eviction proceedings can move forward. In February, Philadelphia’s eviction filings were down 66% relative to historical averages, according to data from Princeton’s Eviction Lab.
“We know that Pennsylvanians have been hit hard by the pandemic, and building a long term, equitable recovery for all Pennsylvanians is an effort that requires all of us to work together at the local, state, and federal levels,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “I want to thank Mayor Kenney and his administration for doing their part through PHL RentAssist and the City’s Eviction Diversion Program, and I thank Deputy Secretary Adeyemo and the Biden Administration for their commitment to investing in the people of Pennsylvania.”
“Keeping people in their homes and supporting landlords affected by COVID-19 has been a major priority throughout the pandemic. The availability of direct federal assistance made creating Philadelphia’s rental assistance program—PHL RentAssist—more urgent, more feasible, and more scalable,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “Philadelphia is grateful to the Biden Administration, Congress, Governor Wolf, the General Assembly, and the Department of Human Services for the critical funding needed to accelerate our rental assistance program, which has allowed to us place over $248 million into the hands of Philadelphia tenants and landlords and help more than 39,000 households since May 2020.”
“Without federal interventions like the Emergency Rental Assistance program that President Biden expanded under the American Rescue Plan, we may very well have seen an eviction crisis that would have created long-term economic scarring for millions of families,” said Deputy Secretary Adeyemo. “Instead, thanks to successful programs like Philadelphia’s, approximately 4.3 million ERA payments have been made to keep people in their homes and keep children in their schools, and the country has a nationwide eviction prevention infrastructure that never existed before.”
A year after President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law, its impact on the lives of millions of families is clear. Yesterday, Princeton University’s Eviction Lab published a new report finding that millions of renters avoided eviction last year due to the federal government’s serious and unprecedented interventions, in significant part through the American Rescue Plan. It also found that low-income and majority-Black neighborhoods that typically see a disproportionate share of eviction cases experienced the largest absolute reduction in filings, consistent with Treasury data showing that over 80% of ERA funds reached the lowest-income renters. Earlier this week, Treasury announced that 4.3 million ERA payments have been made to households through January 2022 as funds continue to increase their reach to households across the country.