Community Legal Services of Philadelphia and Morgan Lewis Obtain Settlement to Provide Emergency SNAP Benefits to Qualifying Pennsylvanians

BREAKING NEWS: CLS and superstar pro bono co-counsel Morgan Lewis just settled litigation that will deliver $712 million emergency SNAP (food stamp) benefits to approximately 650,000 of the neediest Pa households! In addition, the USDA will be changing their national policy so that approximately 12 million families nationwide will get additional SNAP benefits they are owed.…

Brief: The Treasury Department Must Ensure Fair Access to Stimulus Payments for All

We are so excited that the American Rescue Plan has authorized a third round of stimulus payments–offering an essential lifeline to so many people struggling during the pandemic and their dependents.  We are hopeful that people, particularly non-filers, do not face the same significant obstacles getting the $1400 dependent payments like they did for the…

Report: Debt Collection in Philadelphia

Community Legal Services commissioned the following study by the Reinvestment Fund to learn about the impact of debt collection cases filed in Philadelphia’s “small claims” Municipal Court against people across the City, with a particular focus on race. The report includes statistics and maps related to case filings and top filers, service of process, case…

Testimony in Support of Improving the Unemployment Compensation System in Pennsylvania

CLS Litigation Director  Sharon Dietrich submitted the following testimony before the Pennsylvania House Labor and Industry Committee on March 10, 2021. The testimony highlights problems with Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs that are preventing eligible applicants from receiving benefits, and proposes solutions to these problems. Download the full testimony with attachments Members…

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Affordable Utilities for Survivors of Domestic Violence

PECO (electric) and PGW (gas) must provide protections for survivors of domestic violence. To qualify for these protections, a survivor must have either: A Protection from Abuse Order (PFA); or A court order which provides clear evidence of domestic violence against the applicant or customer What protections are available? Survivors can only be held responsible…

COVID-19’s Impact on Race and Housing Security Across Philadelphia: Philadelphia Renters Report

Read the full report  Racial and economic disparities in affordable housing existed long before the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet, new data from the US Census Bureau suggest that the pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout are only widening these divides. When paired with a global pandemic, we anticipate a national wave of homelessness that will…

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Report: Supporting Women in the Criminal Legal System Through Access to Diversionary Programs

Today, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, as part of Incarcerated Women’s Working Group (“Working Group”) released a report on increasing access to diversionary programs for women in the criminal legal system. Diversion programs divert individuals accused of crimes away from traditional court trial and sentencing proceedings, instead requiring participation in community service, treatment, and other…