Pa. and County Bar Associations Launch Information Campaign Assisting Renters and Homeowners Whose Homes Are at Risk Due to the Pandemic

HARRISBURG (Oct. 1, 2020) — The Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA), along with 26 county bar associations, launched the “Pandemic preparedness: When your home is at risk” public information campaign today. Part of a statewide effort co-sponsored by the PBA, the Pennsylvania Bar Trust Fund and county bar associations across the state, the campaign was developed to increase the public’s understanding of their rights when renting or owning a home, with a special focus on the impact from the pandemic.

“With unemployment rates at an all-time high in Pennsylvania, many residents are still feeling negative financial impacts of COVID-19, especially when it comes to their homes,” said PBA President David E. Schwager. “Missed rent and mortgage payments are piling up, and while some temporary protections and programs for renters and borrowers have been put in place, many will need help once they end. What rights, if any, will they have if their homes are in jeopardy? Is there legal help available? This public information campaign tackles these issues and more.”

Running during the month of October, the main components of the campaign include two recorded presentations for potentially impacted mortgage holders and renters: one where Schwager interviews Rasheedah Phillips, managing attorney of housing policy for Community Legal Services of Philadelphia about rental eviction and another about mortgage foreclosures with Schwager interviewinging Lori Toia, director of the Home Emergency Mortgage Association Program at the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency; two free informational brochures: one for renters and one for mortgage holders with essentials on the home renting and homebuying process and expectations; fact sheets about the mortgage foreclosure and rental eviction process and current support that is available, as well as online links to other informational resources from additional Pennsylvania associations and nonprofits.

To alert Pennsylvanians about the informational effort, ads will be placed in more than 70 newspapers under an agreement with the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association and 30-second television and radio spots will air under an agreement with the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters.

“Pandemic preparedness: When your home is at risk” is the 15th in a series of statewide public education efforts conducted under the direction of the PBA Community and Public Relations Committee. Previous campaigns have addressed such issues as grandparent custody, expungement of criminal records, reporting child abuse, education rights of exceptional children, child support, wills and estates, identity theft and credit issues.

The campaign is coordinated by the PBA Community and Public Relations Committee, which is chaired by Grace R. Schuyler of Cumberland County. The following organizations and attorney members contributed to the writing of the two brochures and fact sheets: Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network Inc.; Neighborhood Legal Services; Magisterial District Judge Christian D. Frey; Daniel Cortes, Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania; Irwin Trauss, Philadelphia Legal Aid; Marshal Granor, PBA Real Property, Probate and Trust (RPPT) Law Section immediate past chair, Granor & Granor PC, Horsham, Pa.; Louis M. Kodumal, past RPPT Section chair, Mancini & Kodumal PLLC, Media, Pa.; Kellie A. McGowan, RPPT Section council member, Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP, Doylestown, Pa.; Kelly Ann Mroz, Zone 11 governor, Penn State Student Legal Services, State College; and Brett W. Woodburn, past RPPT Section chair, Woodburn Law, Harrisburg.

Local bar associations participating in the campaign include Beaver County Bar Association, Berks County Bar Association, Blair County Bar Association, Bucks County Bar Association, Cambria County Bar Association, Carbon County Bar Association, Centre County Bar Association, Chester County Bar Association, Cumberland County Bar Association, Dauphin County Bar Association, Delaware County Bar Association, Erie County Bar Association, Franklin County Bar Association, Lackawanna Bar Association, Lancaster Bar Association, Lawrence County Bar Association, Lycoming Law Association, Mercer County Bar Association, Montgomery Bar Association, Monroe County Bar Association, Northampton County Bar Association, Venango County Bar Association, Washington County Bar Association, Westmoreland Bar Association, Wilkes Barre Law & Library Association and York County Bar Association.

For more information, view the PBA’s web page for the campaign:

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association strives to promote justice, professional excellence and respect for the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access of legal services; and serve the lawyer members of the state’s largest organized bar association.