A Year of Challenges, A Year of Solutions: Loss of Income
Our annual report reflects on 2020 by sharing how PLA used its strengths to develop creative and innovative solutions to overcome the challenges brought on by the global pandemic. PLA worked on several fronts to maximize access to resources for Philadelphians impacted by the pandemic.
Challenge: Loss of Income
Unemployment Compensation Unit: In 2020, the unemployment rate reached 14.8%—the highest rate since 1948. Our Unemployment Compensation Unit quickly doubled in size to handle the 1,624 cases brought on by pandemic-related layoffs, ensuring that individuals across Philadelphia got, on average, the $40,000 in benefits that they were eligible for.
Taxpayer Support Clinic: The pandemic created major delays in IRS services, leaving many individuals without the economic impact payments and 2019 tax returns they were owed. Our Taxpayer Support Clinic (TSC) helped hundreds of people navigate barriers, such as identity theft, to receive money that was rightfully theirs. When the IRS withheld stimulus payments to our clients, TSC filed a lawsuit against them for misinterpreting the CARES act. We successfully settled this case, ensuring our clients received the stimulus payments which they initially missed out on and would not otherwise have been able to get.
Consumer Housing Unit: Loss of income impacted thousands of Philadelphians’ ability to pay their rent and mortgage, leading to a looming eviction and foreclosure crisis. By taking a leading role in Philadelphia’s Eviction Diversion and Rental Assistance Programs, the Save Your Home Philly Hotline and Consumer Housing Unit (CHU) have helped thousands of Philadelphians avoid eviction. Among Philadelphia homeowners, CHU helped hundreds of clients access mortgage assistance through the Pandemic Mortgage Assistance Program (PMAP), ensuring that their loss of income did not result in the loss of their home.