Mayor Jim Kenney announced the formation of an Eviction Task Force to reduce the number of evictions and buffer the effects on low income residents in the Philadelphia. The city is facing a housing crisis due to a shortage of safe and affordable housing. Research shows between 2010-2015, one in fourteen Philadelphia renters faced a formal eviction filing. Last year alone 24,000 evictions were filed in the city.
Mayor Kenney signed an Executive Order establishing the task force. Twenty-seven members have been appointed with experience in housing, landlord-tenant matters, legal services and other related fields. It will be chaired by Liz Hersh, the Director of the Office of Homeless Services and Mitchell Little, the Director of the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity.
For more details about the Eviction Task Force, see the full press release by clicking here.
Article appears on newsworks.org.
By Mitch Little, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity
Joy comes with the morning. That’s what the psalms teach us: Every trial, every tribulation, can and must be endured — that, with perseverance and purity of purpose, we can — we shall — overcome.
It’s the message of hope I attempted to impart to my team in the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity after the disturbing events in Charlottesville. In truth, this extraordinary group always seems to be the ones lifting me, with their resolve, determination, and abiding goodness.
We have the privilege of helping Mayor Kenney coordinate and execute a plan to combat poverty in our city, allowing Philadelphia’s low-income residents to realize economic security and move into the middle class.
We have an ambitious, aggressive plan to accelerate the path out of poverty for our fellow citizens. Efforts, which include standout programs like PowerCorps PHL and the Center for Employment Opportunities, are wide-ranging and collectively focused on expanding opportunities for everyone, from recent high school graduates to those re-entering the workforce after incarceration.
But despite our best efforts, our job is not yet complete. For too many of our fellow Philadelphians, each morning brings the joys of life and family, yes, but also the hard realities and struggles of a life in poverty.
And let us be clear: Being poor is not a lifestyle choice. It does not reveal character flaws. Although, coping with it does require more character than we ought to expect from one another.
Which brings me back to Charlottesville.
As a Shared Prosperity Fellow, you will serve as an ambassador for CEO and work alongside stakeholders from government, philanthropic agencies, academia, business and consumer communities, all in an effort to achieve a common understanding of the dynamics of poverty in Philadelphia and be an active participant in making change around these complex issues.
Shared Prosperity Fellowships are offered in CEO’s policy department. The following fellowship positions are open for undergraduate and graduate students during the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 (15-25 hours/week based on Fellow’s class schedule). Note that preference will be given to Fall 2017 applicants who are available to serve for a full academic year.
Applications will be reviewed and offers will be extended on a rolling basis.
A complete application with job descriptions is available here. Applications are due by Friday, August 18th, 2017.
The Planning Consultant will conduct research and development for the Running Start Early Childhood Policy Fellowship Program. The goal of this program is to develop a cadre of emerging professionals of color who are equipped to assume organizational leadership and policy roles in Philadelphia’s nonprofit and public early childhood sectors. The Planning Consultant will work with a team of advisors and stakeholder groups to develop the program. S/he will report to the Director of Children and Youth Strategies in the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO). The Fund for Philadelphia has been delegated by CEO to serve as fiscal sponsor for this project. This is a part-time consultancy for six months.
Additional information about the position, CEO and A Running Start Philadelphia can be found here.
The Office of Homeless Services launched “Show You Care, But Not Right Here,” a new effort to reduce panhandling and help with homelessness. Instead of giving money to panhandlers and homeless persons you can donate through a text to 80077, type “Share” and you contribute $5. Donations are matched by the City and the money goes to homeless service providers.
For more information, click here.
Healthy Rental Housing: Current Risks and Opportunities for New Partnerships
June 29th, 2017
This June, the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity held a Shared Prosperity Roundtable on healthy rental housing, convening members from over twenty organizations. The goal of the roundtable was to share resources, identify opportunities for cross-sector collaboration and learn about new initiatives to create safe, healthy homes for low-income renters in Philadelphia. Welcoming the guests was Rasheeda Phillips, Esq. from Community Legal Services. “Our hope is that this Roundtable gives us the chance to increase our dialogue between health care and housing sectors”, stated Phillips.
Instead of our typical breakout discussions, two panels highlighted the stress and outcomes of unhealthy living conditions and how large institutions can play a role in creating better outcomes for people who need it most.
The first panel was entitled “Health Impacts of Substandard Rental Housing”. Imani Sullivan from Witnesses to Hunger spoke on her personal struggle with finding and affording healthy housing and how living in unhealthy conditions has impacted her children’s health and her own. A resident of North Philadelphia, Sullivan shared that she has been on the Section 8 waiting list for 17 years.
Moderating the second panel on “Exploring Cross-Sector Solutions” was Edward Thomas, Healthy Homes Representative for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Edward Thomas shared HUD’s Healthy Homes App, a free app that has helpful hints on ways to make your homes safe and healthy. Other panelists discussed how the role pediatricians and clinical provider’s play is essential to collectively working together in improving housing conditions for families and their children who live in poverty. Panelists from medical institutions in high poverty areas like Temple University Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia gave their expertise on how they have been working to collaborate with surrounding community to track and alleviate substandard housing conditions. Dr. Palak Raval Nelson, Director of Environmental Health Services, Dept. of Public Health underscored emotional and behavioral issues that can stem from living with high levels of lead. “There is no healthy level of lead” Dr. Nelson stated.
At each Roundtable, we ask participants to share their experience and opinions so we can improve future events. Here’s what you thought of our June Roundtable:
- 97.5% of respondents reported the event was good or excellent.
- Over 90% of respondents felt that they learned something new about rental housing and health.
- Over 90% of respondents left having a better understanding about opportunities to work outside of their sector to improve conditions for low income renters.
As always thanks for your participation and feedback!
The Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO) is seeking a mission-focused, seasoned, strategic leader, with a strong knowledge of the philanthropic community and the political landscape in Philadelphia, to assume the role of Director of Place-Based Initiatives, to lead the City of Philadelphia’s effort to coordinate activities and partners in the Promise Zone.
The Promise Zone is a federal initiative designed to address the challenges of areas of deep and persistent poverty across the country. Instead of providing new programs or services, the Promise Zone helps existing organizations work together to increase opportunities for residents living, working, and going to school within its boundaries. The West Philadelphia Promise Zone is focused on a two-square mile section of West Philadelphia, and has organized across six subcommittees (Education, Workforce Development, Housing, Health and Wellness, Public Safety, and Economic Opportunity) to coordinate existing and future efforts in the area to advance critical goals. The subcommittees are comprised of government agencies, local universities, nonprofit organizations, and neighborhood associations that are engaged in these issues. The work is coordinated across subcommittees by an Executive Committee that is composed of the co-chairs of each subcommittee and CEO.
Additional details can be found here.
The Scheduler is responsible for proactive management of the executive office, including its scheduling, communication, and administrative organization; administrative support of CEO’s Oversight Board, including the composition of minutes and routine correspondence; interacting with departmental directors and managers on behalf of the Executive Director to address direct inquiries, assist, and troubleshoot; and must participate in team activities with other staff members. The Scheduler will skillfully manage external communication with the Oversight Board and high-level public officials with the highest level of professionalism.
Additional information can be found here.
The Special Assistant to the Executive Director is a key staff position that provides high level policy research and special projects management, as well as communications support, for the Executive Director. This position works closely with the Executive Team, composed of the Executive Director, Deputy Director of Operations, and Deputy Director of Innovation, to prepare and brief these individuals in advance of meetings, and public events. The Special Assistant’s research, special projects, and communications efforts also support the work of the Policy and Innovation staff in the office. The Special Assistant reports directly to the Executive Director.
CEO is seeking an Accountant I to provide fiscal support for fiscal monitoring; review of budgets and contractual invoices; and provides Fiscal Administration. This position reports directly to the Senior Accountant.