Fair Housing Commission adds new members

PHILADELPHIA, February 20, 2015 – The Philadelphia Fair Housing Commission expanded its ranks by two, adding two seasoned attorneys to help resolve concerns between the city’s tenants and landlords.

Mayor Michael A. Nutter’s appointment of Jennifer Santiago and David T. Rammler completes the five-member panel, filling a standing vacancy and replacing Diane Canty, who stepped down after 16 years of “valued service,” said Rue Landau, FHC executive director.

(l-r) Attorney Jennifer Santiago, the newest member of the Philadelphia Fair Housing Commission, joins Commissioners Anthony Lewis Jr.  and the Rev. James S. Allen in reviewing a case with a landlord at a recent hearing.

(l-r) Attorney Jennifer Santiago, the newest member of the Philadelphia Fair Housing Commission, joins Commissioners Anthony Lewis Jr. and the Rev. James S. Allen in reviewing a case with a landlord at a recent hearing.

Santiago and Rammler join a trio of veteran commissioners – Anthony Lewis Jr., the Revs. Ralph E. Blanks and James S. Allen. Commissioners uphold the city’s Fair Housing Ordinance, hearing complaints about unsafe or unhealthy rental living conditions filed by citizens and investigated by FHC staff.

Santiago, a private practice attorney, has served as a prosecutor and an assistant district attorney in New York, with a focus on domestic violence law. She also has amassed experience in family law while working at the Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania, First Judicial District, which serves Philadelphia. The bilingual Philadelphia native trained at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple’s Beasley School of Law.

Rammler, a legal consultant for the Fair Share Housing Center of New Jersey, has spent the bulk of his career in nonprofit law and social services in a variety of roles, from Philadelphia to Honolulu to Washington, D.C. Previously, he served as a staff attorney and director of government relations for the National Housing Law Project, a nonprofit housing rights program. He is a board member of the National Lawyers Guild, Philadelphia chapter. He earned his J.D. from Case Western University School of Law.

“The skill sets and experience level of these new commissioners are fantastic,” Landau said. “Fairly reviewing these cases, understanding the human element and applying the law, is especially important work because so many lives are directly impacted by what happens here.

“We couldn’t be more pleased by the mayor’s selections,” she added.

FHC is charged with diffusing and arbitrating disputes between tenants and landlords. Legally binding decisions rendered by commissioners may be appealed to the Courts of Common Pleas or other appropriate courts. It operates as a division of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.

Learn more by calling (215) 686-4670 or visiting www.phila.gov/fairhousingcommission.

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