Cateria R. McCabe, Director of Veterans, Kinship Care and Tenant Rights testified on Monday, June 4, 2018 before City Council’s Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and the Homeless about a proposed bill that seeks to amend the Philadelphia Code by adding a new Section 10-840 “Criminal and Defiant Trespassers” in an effort to address perpetrators commonly known as “squatters.” SeniorLAW Center opposes the bill, joining several other legal services providers and advocates. Bill 180430 is an attempt to have an expedient method to remove people known as squatters from property within five (5) days. Although the intentions are good, the Bill in its current form could criminalize and make seniors homeless who are not squatters. SeniorLAW Center opposes the Bill because it does not protect seniors against those who would use the bill provisions to remove people from their homes who have a right to remain in the property. If the bill passes, Cateria testified, “unscrupulous landlords, people who obtained property through fraud, and perpetrators of domestic violence could use the new legislation to remove seniors from their home with police intervention and an affidavit.” SeniorLAW Center supports the creation of a Task Force that would include the court, legal services providers, City Council, the police department and the District Attorney, among others. These stakeholders would examine the current law and processes that are in place in place to determine the best practices to be implemented to remove squatters — without jeopardizing the sanctity of home for people who are legitimately living in properties.
Read the partial testimony here.
SeniorLAW Center is proud to represent senior thousands of tenants, homeowners and others facing homelessness and other critical legal problems each year, and to help seniors age in place in their own homes and communities, with independence and dignity.