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Our office works with private sector and community partners to conduct and share research on mobility out of poverty. We also advocate for policies that speak to the specific economic conditions in Philadelphia.

Housing security

CEO convenes and co-chairs the Housing Security Working Group (HSWG).

HSWG’s mission is to help change systems, policies, and programs to:

  • Prevent evictions.
  • Reduce the effects of evictions on Philadelphia residents.

HSWG pays special attention to the needs of residents (both landlords and tenants) living in poverty, especially those in poor-quality housing.

HSWG coordinates efforts to put in place the recommendations from the Mayor’s Task Force on Eviction Prevention and Response in its final report issued in June 2018. To do this, HSWG:

  • Holds meetings.
  • Tracks metrics.
  • Monitors several subcommittees that are responsible for implementation.

Membership includes City agencies, nonprofit organizations, policy analysts, landlord associations, and legal services agencies.

Fines and fees reform

CEO is leading discussions about the City’s policies on court and municipal fines and fees. In July 2019, we hosted a roundtable with the University of Pennsylvania Law School examining fines and fees as a barrier to reentry. The event featured perspectives from:

  • A formerly incarcerated individual who had experienced the burden of fines and fees.
  • Advocates working at all levels to end excessive criminal fines and fees.

Philadelphia was one of ten cities accepted into an initiative of the Cities and Counties for Fine and Fee Justice in May 2020. We are currently working with other City offices to:

  • Review City policies on both municipal and court-related fines and fees.
  • Develop recommendations for reforming the current system.

We have also begun engaging the community to better understand the local impact of fines and fees.

Consumer financial protection

CEO is driving the City’s efforts to coordinate the protection of consumers from harmful practices and schemes. We want to prevent clients from falling into the traps and high-cost services that rob them of their wealth.

In 2020, Philadelphia was one of five cities accepted into a national consumer financial protection initiative run by the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund.

Currently, we are working to prepare a strategic plan for this work. Collaborators include:

  • Treasurer’s Office.
  • Law Department.
  • District Attorney’s Office.
  • Attorney General’s Office.
  • Community Legal Services.

Benefits access

CEO convenes the Benefits Access Working Group (BAWG).

BAWG is a collection of advocates, service providers, and researchers. We work together to:

  • Ensure that all eligible residents can access public benefits and essential services.
  • Advocate for those in need who are not currently eligible for benefits.
  • Push for a stronger and more expansive social safety net.

For BAWG members, increasing access to public benefits means:

  • Removing obstacles and barriers to program participation
  • Increasing the ease of application processes
  • Increasing the ability to sustain benefits (reducing “churn”)
  • Improving the capacity of consumers to apply for and get benefits
  • Raising awareness among community leaders of resources and availability

The BAWG, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN), also convenes the Pennsylvania Benefits Access Coalition. The Coalition offers a workshop series on public benefits and advocacy strategies for case managers, social workers, and frontline staff who work with populations that are likely to be eligible for public benefits.