Under the Emergency Housing Protection Act (Section 9-809 of the Philadelphia Code), tenants experiencing a COVID-19 financial hardship may be entitled to protections including waiver of late fees, participation in the eviction diversion program and a payment plan for unpaid rents. Tenants wishing to assert these rights should submit a Certification of Hardship to their landlords.”
As of April 1, 2021, no landlord may file a Landlord Tenant Complaint seeking possession based on non-payment of rent owed prior to the date of filing until 45 days after they have first completed an application with the PHL Rent Assist Program throughwww.phlrentassist.org. Upon completing the application, the landlord will be automatically enrolled in the Eviction Diversion Program as well. It will be a dispositive affirmative defense for any tenant to show that the landlord did not pursue either rental assistance or eviction diversion through the City of Philadelphia Programs timely or in good faith.
We regret to inform you that Meg Shope Koppel, a dedicated member of the board of Philadelphia FIGHT has died. Meg did much more than just attend our board meetings, although she was a faithful participant who could be counted upon to show up and offer up her assistance at all times. As an expert in job development, Meg undertook to work directly with our programs including Critical Path and its literacy, computer literacy, job readiness and job training programs, and the Institute for Community Justice which focuses its workforce development on serving citizens returning from incarceration. She met frequently with the staffs of these groups, helped us develop program ideas and seek funding. Meg brought FIGHT to the table when Citywide projects were developed to increase the resources available to us all. Meg served as the Chief Research Officer of PhillyWorks, the City’s job development coordinating agency, a position from which she dedicated herself to helping people with limited education and limited access to jobs gain the experience and tools they needed in order enter the Labor Force. She considered her commitment to her clients to be lifelong, and she helped numerous people overcome adversity and become employed and productive members of our community.
After her death, her husband Dr. Ross Koppel commented in part:
Meg was the most dedicated person I’ve ever known to those in need: the homeless, those with HIV, those who suffered discrimination, and these last decades, to those who needed help getting jobs via training, apprenticeships, education, guidance. She worked with the areas’ educational institutions, with the business community, and with the city and state governments. She was so deeply committed to the people with whom she worked, and of course, to the people it served. She spent a lot of her own money to buy food and gifts for her fellow workers. She said she made more money than many of them. She would bring our home office supplies to her office.
She was also unbelievably generous with our money to charities, to the many groups seeking to help others. She also gave of her time generously to the several agencies where she served on the boards. She was especially committed to Philadelphia Fight, an agency here in Philadelphia that helps people with AIDS. I’m getting calls from throughout the region about her remarkable good works. But how can anyone do anything but admire her for that. If these are Christian ideals, she was the most Christian atheist semi-non-Jewess in the world. My cousin Elliot called her a real mensch. She certainly was.
The head of Phillyworks told me they were receiving statements of condolences from throughout the nation from people in the similar agencies with whom she worked or who were touched by her research and policy work.
It is important now more than ever to make sure everyone is safe and protected. Philadelphia FIGHT will be giving flu shots to all patients during flu season. If you are interested, please call your provider prior to coming in the office.
Refers to people who carry the active COVID-19 virus, but do not develop symptoms
Refers to people who have been infected and are incubating the virus but aren’t showing symptoms yet.
Those who feel slightly unwell due to COVID-19 infection, such as a cold or mild fever symptoms.
While fever, cough, and shortness of breath are common symptoms of COVID-19, some carriers of the illness show little or no symptoms. It isn’t clear how many people are asymptomatic carriers, or how much asymptomatic individuals spread the disease, but this caveat makes it all the more important to practice social distancing, stay home, and wear a mask while in public.
Adjusting to the quarantine efforts and stay-at-home order has been difficult. There has been a lot of change in a very short amount of time. Taking care of physical health is important in the face of COVID-19, and now taking care of mental health must be a focus in the face of social isolation due to quarantine efforts.
The American Psychological Association and SAMHSA have some guides about how to look after your mental health, and some of their suggestions are presented here.
Advocacy and health are closely related, and that is especially true during this period of active legislation about COVID-19. Here are some opportunities around Philadelphia and PA to contact your representatives, connect with other workers, and advocate for those in the food and health industries
With the current COVID-19 crisis, the health of all is inextricably tied to the rights of groups including health workers, food industry workers, and refugees. Local, state, and federal organizations are asking for individuals to contact their representatives, participate in town halls, and write letters or emails supporting those most vulnerable during this time. Here are some opportunities to support advocacy efforts in a safe, distanced way.
For many people, this will simply mean feeling ill for a little while. Fever and cough can be treated with medicine (NSAIDs like ibuprofen are cautioned against, but acetaminophen seems to be effective and safe), but make sure to call your doctor as soon as you start noticing symptoms. The good news is that social isolation, the more confined version of social distancing, is recommended by the CDC to prevent the spreading of disease to others in your household or neighborhood. Some basics of isolation are presented here, and more information can be found on the CDC website here: https://www.cdc.gov/…/…/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
Contact your doctor: CALL FIRST! Your doctor or a local clinic can give you instructions on next steps based on your symptoms.
Stay away from others: Stay in your own home, and isolate yourself from those you live with.
Wear a mask and cover coughs and sneezes: If you need to be around others in your home, cover your mouth with a mask. Sneeze or cough into your elbow.
Wash your hands: Wash your hands often, especially if you are interacting with things in your home that others are touching
Clean common surfaces: Disinfect surfaces that you or others touch daily, both in your “sick room” and the house.
Monitor Symptoms: Keep track of your symptoms, and if you have severe symptoms including inability to breathe or prolonged pain, seek medical treatment
Keeping a distance of 3 feet between yourself and other people, especially anyone coughing or sneezing. The World Health Organization advises social distancing as a prevention tactic for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in addition to frequent hand washing and coughing or sneezing into one’s elbow
Come back Friday for more detailed information about social distancing
Annette B. Gadegbeku, MD
Annette B. Gadegbeku, MD is Director of Adult Medicine at John Bell Health Center and Jonathan Lax Treatment Center of Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers. Dr. Gadegbeku is a Family Medicine Physician who specializes in primary care for all ages (from pediatrics to geriatrics)!
Dr. Cruz is a board-certified pediatrician who serves as the Medical Director for our Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center. He has presented and/or published in the fields of community violence and domestic violence prevention, quality improvement, behavioral health, curriculum development, and mentorship.