Officers are pushing forward with the Pittsburgh eviction ban in the course of the Covid pandemic

Pittsburgh City Council members are pushing legislation to prevent evictions in the city during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council will continue to discuss the regulation introducing an eviction moratorium pending the city’s pandemic emergency at a committee hearing on Wednesday. It was introduced by Councilor Deb Gross, who, with the help of several other city officials, drafted the legislation.

The ordinance is jointly sponsored by Council members Anthony Coghill, R. Daniel Lavelle, Bobby Wilson, Bruce Kraus, and Corey O’Connor.

“We all know that at the worst, it’s a growing problem,” said Gross.

Before the council accelerated the legislative process to a committee meeting, several Pittsburgh Union of Regional Renters residents and community activists spoke about the importance of the bill.

Only one, Oakland attorney Matthew Fineman, spoke about the importance of reconciling the eviction ban with help to landlords.

“There has to be protection for both sides in the plan,” said Fineman.

The others who spoke spoke about the moral need to protect people exposed to a financial crush caused by Covid, with the added concern of becoming homeless.

“We believe housing is a human right,” Jennifer Lines, a Pittsburgh Union of Regional Renters volunteer, told the council.

The eviction during the pandemic is a death sentence, Lines said.

Joy Sabl, a landlord who lives in Point Breeze, said even those who don’t seem to deserve eviction protection because they are bad renters should get that protection now.

“There is no time to oust anyone,” said Sabl.

Allegheny County courts, like others in Pennsylvania, have had a moratorium as of March 2020 that expires on Friday, but even with the moratorium there are 215 cases out of the city going through the judicial system, Gross said.

The passage of the bill will protect people from entering the eviction process and give them time to sign up for a program expected to begin March 1 to receive $ 27 million in rental support through a program funded by Managed by the Urban Redevelopment Agency in collaboration with Action Housing and Dollar Energy.

For details on this program click here.

“We take care of the cash,” said Gross of this program.

There’s paperwork, Gross said, but she advised landlords and tenants to participate because the support provides landlords with money who also suffer financial losses due to overdue rents.

A similar program helped 1,000 people last year, 790 of whom had children, Gross said.

“The government has been happy to work with Councilor Gross on this important piece of legislation and looks forward to further Council debate on Wednesday,” said Tim McNulty, spokesman for Mayor Bill Peduto.

Tom Davidson is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715,, or on Twitter.

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