The Pinellas Eviction Diversion Program (“PEDP”) is a newly launched initiative of the Community Law Program designed to assist qualified tenants and landlords who have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by providing mediation, access to rental assistance, and guidance on navigating housing alternatives.
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The PEDP was conceptualized and formulated following a successful launch of a eviction mediation pilot program in the Sixth Judicial Circuit. Under the pilot program, the Courts were able to refer certain cases to mediation prior to the parties attending a final hearing. The pilot program had a high rate of success, with most tenants and landlords reporting a high level of satisfaction with the mediation process and its outcome. In other words, the majority of evictions were prevented, and both tenants and landlords felt satisfied with the outcome of the mediation process. The pilot program was a “win-win” for both landlords and tenants – tenants remained in their homes, landlords received the rent due to them, and many relationships were repaired through the power of communication. Thanks to a generous grant from the Pinellas Community Foundation, we were able to launch this innovative program in September of 2020.