Here’s hoping your Thursday is off to a great start. It looks like another cold one, with highs in the low 40s.

Our top stories today are both about housing across the region. First, we look at the scarcity of homes for those still trying to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Ida.

And lawmakers want to make Philadelphia’s nationally recognized Eviction Diversion Program permanent, as many see it as a model for other cities.

— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

Hurricane Ida has forced hundreds to weather a different kind of storm

The lasting effects of Hurricane Ida are the massive toll it’s taken on hundreds of people still searching for a home of their own. In suburban counties like Montgomery and Chester, months have passed with people still residing in county-funded hotels, living with relatives, or couch-surfing on the good graces of friends.

  • 🏘️ In Montgomery County, 342 residents from 152 households are still living in county-funded hotels. Of those, at least 85 of the households are renters, while at least 23 are homeowners.

  • 🏨 In Chester County, 71 people from 30 households — all renters — are living in hotels.

A Montco official told us vacancy rates for affordable housing are the lowest they’ve been in 20 years, further exacerbating the problem. Our reporter Ellie Rushing has more on what’s being done and how people are trying to get back on solid ground.

What you should know today

Philly wants its Eviction Diversion Program to live on

As Philadelphia looks for a long-term solution for struggling tenants and landlords, City Council is considering legislation that would authorize the city and courts to operate the nationally recognized Eviction Diversion Program for another year. It’s set to expire Dec. 31, and lawmakers want to extend that either through continued funding or a form of mediation.

As of Monday, the city had received more than 76,000 applications from renters and landlords — far more than it can handle even with an additional $35 million in federal funding.

Why the push to keep the program afloat?

City officials say it has helped reduce the number of eviction filings by 75%, easing the landlord-tenant court’s caseload, helping landlords avoid vacancies and turnover costs, and preventing stains on tenants’ records that make finding future housing more difficult. Some say it’s a model for other cities to consider.

Our reporter Michaelle Bond has more details on the future of this program.

🧠 Philly Trivia Time 🧠

For the Birds fans out there: Eagles legend Brian Dawkins sits down with our columnist Mike Sielski for an Inquirer Live event today at 4:15 p.m. that you don’t want to miss. Today’s question: Do you know what year Dawkins was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame? Take a guess and check out this throwback piece for today’s answer.

What we’re ...

  • 👀 Watching: ABC’s new show Abbott Elementary, depicting life inside Philly schools. To see just how much the show got right, we asked a real Philly teacher to critique the pilot episode.

  • 📚 Reading: This piece on how millennials killed the mayonnaise industry made me LOL.

  • 🎁 Suggesting: These authentically Philly gifts for your special people this holiday season.

  • 🥨 Asking: We want to know your favorite things to do in and around Philly, to share in our Your Essential Philly section each week. Send your Philly must-do’s to morningnewsletter@inquirer.com.

Photo of the day

I gotta say sorry for a small gaffe yesterday in my mention of Stephen Starr’s monster deal with Aramark. I wrote that “tacos from Buena Onda could be coming to a college campus near you.” Which could happen, but not due to this partnership, as Buena Onda is a Jose Garces joint. 🤦

Suppose that’s the problem with having so many great restaurateurs in one city. Or wait, is that actually a good problem to have? As always, I appreciate you taking time to start your day with The Inquirer.✌️