|Philadelphia’s Eviction Diversion through Pre-Filing Mediation Program|
The Good Shepherd Mediation Program aims to empower people to resolve disputes. They provide a space wherein a completely neutral third party person helps the other parties clarify their underlying issues and create their own solution, while opening lines of communication between the two so they can deal with future problems. This non-profit organization recently partnered with the city of Philadelphia in creating a pre-filing eviction mediation program in order to help tenants and landlords discuss their problems and hopefully resolve them before taking it to court; this would benefit tenants as eviction cases, regardless of outcome, automatically go on their record and affect future ability to secure housing.
Currently in piloting phase
Funded by the city. More details to be shared soon.
Size (number of beneficiaries)
To be shared soon.
Who designed and set up the program?
City Council created an eviction diversion program, meant for tenants who have missed payment because of COVID-related financial hardships. Good Shepherd will act as the primary mediation program.
Who runs and manages the program?
The program is in partnership with the City of Philadelphia. Good Shepherd will rely heavily on volunteers for landlord/tenant mediations.
Who funds the program?
Currently, the program was created without any funding. Because Good Shepherd Mediation Program is a non-profit organization, they will have to fundraise or rely on the city to provide funding.
Intended Beneficiaries: Who does the program target?
It’s a program that targets tenants and landlords, but it primarily aims to benefit tenants since a pre-filing mediation might prevent an eviction from going on their record and making it harder to secure future housing.
How does the program work? What are the typical paths of action that the beneficiary + the service-provider take?
Before filing an eviction case in court, the landlord must engage in mediation with the tenant to try and resolve the issue before it goes on record. If the tenant creates a payment plan, the landlord must accept it. The landlord also has to waive all late fees on overdue rent.
What assets can be shared for others to use?
Given the COVID-19 pandemic, have there been any alterations to program functions?
There are some materials at the bottom of the page. Feel free to also contact the program and check out their FaceBook page for more details.
Zoom has been a necessary tool because of the inability to mediate in person. Some zoom functions, like sharing screens to go over documents or increased flexibility with the consent form due to its virtual nature have been helpful, but in cases where either the landlord or tenant does not have access to zoom, mediations have been conducted via conference calls.
What are the plans for monitoring and evaluation?
At the end of each mediation session, both parties fill out an evaluation of how the meeting went. The group also follows up with the parties by conducting surveys, but it’s often difficult to reach them, as their numbers or addresses might be different.
Have any evaluations been conducted so far?
To be shared soon.
Contact and Follow-Up Info
Documentation + Links
Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GoodShepherdMediationProgram
Article about their virtual mediations: https://whyy.org/articles/can-evictions-be-avoided-landlords-and-tenants-are-negotiating-over-zoom/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=engagingnetworks&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_content=WHYY%20News%20Daily%2005%2F26%2F20&fbclid=IwAR06G2LCTO-LpdVE9-2FmesBQ6hjstRQc3hGlC3vL7Oi2N0G9qDQz_gFEIU
Link to Mayor’s Task Force report: https://www.phila.gov/hhs/PDF/Mayors%20Task%20Force%20on%20Eviction%20Prevention%20and%20Response-Report.pdf
Recent City legislation:
Point of Contact for more information
Sue Wasserkrug, SWasserkrug@phillymediators.org