Thousands of tenants are at risk of homelessness
As a result of the coronavirus unemployment is skyrocketing, our healthcare system is becoming overburdened, and about a third of all people were unable to pay rent on April 1st. People should be able to save their money for life sustaining items like food, medication, and other basic necessities. Philadelphians should be able to heed the call for staying home, without fear of eviction, displacement, and houselessness. And when the crisis is over, we cannot have massive numbers of people getting evicted because they can’t afford their back-owed rent.
Demands for relief go unanswered by lawmakers. We know that paying rent is going to continue to be an issue for people across the city. Band-aid policies like funding rental assistance are not financially feasible or sustainable, and will only be able to help a few hundred tenants. We need comprehensive solutions that our politicians have been so far unwilling to enact.
What are we doing about it? We are helping tenants unite and fight!
The unanswered requests for relief are our call to action. We are calling on tenants to stand in solidarity with each other. Renters all across the city are getting organized with other tenants under their landlord, negotiating for rent reductions, and will strike together on May 1st.
The more tenants involved in organized strikes, the more likely they will be able to win concessions and political pressure for City and State intervention. If you are interested in striking, check out our organizing guide and fill out this form to get connected with tenants who share a landlord or management company with you.
This fund aims to provide legal assistance to tenant groups who cannot negotiate rent reductions they can afford and go on rent strike, and who may face landlord retaliation and landlord-tenant court.
FOOD, NOT RENT: Strike demands
As we prepare to strike, we embrace the slogan “FOOD, NOT RENT”. For May 1st, these are our demands:
We demand Governor Wolf, State Senators and Representatives draft legislation to:
Cancel rent and mortgage payments for 6 months, with no debt accrued and no back pay required.
Enforce rent and mortgage forgiveness for missed payments starting from March.
And demand that Mayor Kenney and Philadelphia City Council:
Make all eviction filing, evictions, and foreclosures illegal for at least 6 months.
Freeze rent rates at the current level for a year beyond the end of the crisis.
Enact comprehensive rent control.
Take immediate action to provide housing for the houseless people of Philadelphia.
Build City-funded public housing that will meet the city’s need, ensuring that all will be housed.
You can join us
Whether you are striking or not, stand in solidarity with tenants all over the city by donating to this fund! We will be using it to support striking collectives of tenants in need of legal support once the courts reopen.
This support will come in the form of representing striking tenants in court, mount appeals if the strike is still going on and landlord tenant court rules against renters, file Fair Housing commission complaints if landlords retaliate - especially prior to the withholding of rent, helping tenants plan out their legal strategy against landlords who decide to pursue eviction against strikers (i.e., legal consultation fees, having attorneys ‘on retainer’ for larger associations before they move on the decision to withhold rent), and provide moving cost reimbursement if appeals fail.
Now is the time to ensure that housing is treated as a human right by all, please stand with us today by donating to this fund and joining the Philadelphia Tenants Union.
Love & Solidarity Always,
Philadelphia Tenants Union