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The $1 billion eviction conundrum in Pa. | Morning Newsletter

And, a judge hits pause on public hearings for police contracts

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

I got an email yesterday from a reader named Diane, who said the newsletter “doesn’t always have to start off with the things Philly is doing wrong.”

So today’s top story takes a different look at evictions, which are a crisis across Pennsylvania — but much less so in Philadelphia. In Philly, the process after federal pandemic eviction moratoriums ended has been structured to keep more people in their homes.

Philly landlords have to apply for rental assistance and go through mediation before they can even file an eviction case. In other counties, the onus is on tenants to secure assistance. The result? The city has spent more of its relief funding to stop evictions than almost anywhere in the country — and is now in danger of running out of money.

Is this a good or bad problem to have? Both? Send a reply to

— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr

There are 67 counties in Pennsylvania and just about every one handles evictions differently. And despite $1 billion in federal rent and utility relief funding sprinkled across the state, many renters still face eviction — largely through a lack of coordination between assistance programs and the courts.

Many counties don’t promote these relief programs, and for renters who do start the process, there’s still the unknown of whether relief will come before the clock expires on their eviction notice.

In Philadelphia, the process to get relief funding isn’t any easier, but it’s one a landlord must start before trying to evict someone. Tenants should understand their rights and the steps they need to take to stay in their homes. Our reporter Charlotte Keith of Spotlight PA spent a week in Dauphin County courtrooms to get a sense of how the eviction process is playing out in another part of the state.

A move once lauded as promising more transparency in city police contracts is back to square one after a judge ruled in favor of the police union’s lawsuit alleging that holding public hearings like one last fall violates state law.

  1. How it started: The push for public input on police contracts started after the George Floyd protests last year, as activists called for diverting police funding to other city services. But that can’t happen without revising officers’ collective bargaining agreement, a move Fraternal Order of Police president John McNesby rejected: “The law is clear: You can’t interfere with ... our bargaining rights.”

  2. What’s next: Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson, who sponsored the bill allowing for public input, said officials are reviewing their options before deciding how or whether to appeal.

Our reporter Chris Palmer has more on this story.

What you should know today

  1. Passengers who witnessed a woman being raped aboard a SEPTA train but didn’t intervene or call 911 won’t face charges for their inaction.

  2. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has a $10 million head start in his 2022 campaign for governor.

  3. Parents, 80% of Philly school staffers have been vaccinated, leaving roughly 2,250 that need to submit to weekly testing.

  4. Last night was Kate Scott’s first call of a Sixers game. Our reporter Rob Tornoe sat down with her for quite the interview. And in the wake of the latest Ben Simmons drama, fans are trying to offload Simmons gear. Spoiler alert: Nobody wants it.

  5. And while it’s not even Halloween, it’s never too early to start thinking about local spots to get your Thanksgiving turkey.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

I have no words. This is just an amazing shot of a Philly morning. Nice work, @t.do___. Show us the region from your perspective with the hashtag #OurPhilly.

That’s interesting

  1. Comcast executive and longtime Philly power broker David Cohen is on the verge of becoming U.S. ambassador to Canada.

  2. Meet Alison Horn, the self-proclaimed “Bubble Queen” of Philadelphia.

  3. Fishtown’s Laser Wolf restaurant is set to open a second location — in Brooklyn.


“How a waterfront project managed to fail in Philadelphia’s sizzling housing market remains a mystery to the city’s development community and Fishtown residents alike,” our architecture critic, Inga Saffron, writes of the failed Gotham project, a series of abandoned riverside townhomes by Penn Treaty Park left to ruin by squatters, thieves, and a multi-alarm fire.

  1. Nora Lichtash, Thomas Earle, and City Councilmember Derek Green write that Philly can no longer drag its feet when it comes to the future of affordable housing.

  2. George W. Miller III writes that it’s time to return Cheyney University to Philly. Where exactly? Why not the Navy Yard?

What we’re ...

  1. Wowed by: The base salaries of the Philadelphia Union after figures were released by Major League Soccer’s Players Association yesterday. Knowing what they used to be as a former soccer journalist, I’d say the MLS has come a long way.

  2. Fall cleaning: As a father of two, I have lots to give up. Here’s a roundup of thrift stores and donation centers that will take all of it.

  3. Watching: As Bitcoin becomes mainstream, Wall Street is licking its chops. Here’s what that could mean for the entire cryptocurrency industry.

Photo of the day

Have a great Thursday, everyone. Catch you tomorrow.