West Philadephia rehab facility misses city payment, may face eviction

A West Philadelphia facility that helps women recover from drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence says it faces eviction Friday because the city of Philadelphia failed to pay it on time.

“We haven’t received a check from them at all since May,” said Traci Lawton, founder and executive director of House of Hugs at 60th and Catherine streets.

But two Philadelphia officials said Wednesday that the city would pay House of Hugs $22,700 Thursday.<NO1>9/22/11<NO>

Arthur C. Evans Jr., commissioner of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health, and Roland Lamb, director of the city’s Office of Addiction Services, said such delays in payments to contractors often happen at this time of year as the city waits for state funding to arrive.

They said they wished they had known earlier that House of Hugs needed the money sooner to pay its rent because the city generally tries to help contractors with such cash crunches.

It’s not clear whether the upcoming payment will prevent the eviction. Lawton’s landlord could not be reached for comment.

House of Hugs has contracted with the city for four yeras. The facility has beds for 23 women, eight of them paid for by the city.

Lawton, a survivor of domestic violence, started House of Hugs eight years ago to end what she sees as a cycle of violence and addiction. Her grandfather, an alcoholic, murdered her grandmother, she said.

“I just have a passion for helping women so they don't end up like my grandmother,” she said.

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