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Senate Democrats Call on Attorney General to Reinstate HEMAP with Settlement Funds
Pennsylvania is set to receive $266 million from a national settlement with mortgage servicers
My fellow Senate Democrats and I today called on Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly to use settlement funds to stave off foreclosures by reinstating the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP).
Pennsylvania is among several states set to receive a significant amount of funding from a $25 billion national settlement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers as a result of an investigation of mortgage and foreclosure abuses by state attorneys general and bank regulators from across the United States.
Under the agreement, Pennsylvania is set to receive $266 million.
We have requested that these funds be used to reestablish HEMAP. HEMAP was forced to close on July 1, 2011 after its funding was cut. Before its closure, HEMAP received annual funding of between $10 and $11 million for many years. HEMAP was not funded in Governor Corbett’s 2012-13 budget proposal.
HEMAP was created in 1983 to assist and protect Pennsylvania homeowners who are financially unable to make their mortgage payments and are in danger of losing their homes.
Since its inception, HEMAP has assisted over 46,000 families in every county throughout Pennsylvania, 85 percent of these homeowners who have received HEMAP loans remain in their homes.
HEMAP funds are loaned to eligible borrowers both to bring delinquent loans current and to assist borrowers in making monthly mortgage payments for up to 24 months.
HEMAP has helped keep foreclosure rates relatively low and below those of other state housing finance agencies and the national averages and has been used as a model for similar programs nationwide.
To say the housing situation in Pennsylvania is dire, would be an understatement:
According to RealtyTrac:
- In PA, 1 in every 1,481 homes were in foreclosure in December 2011
- In PA, 3,727 homes were in foreclosure in December 2011
- In Philadelphia, 1 in every 875 homes were in foreclosure in December 2011
- In Philadelphia, 756 homes were in foreclosure in December 2011
Without HEMAP, more and more families are losing their homes and will continue to do so. Homeownership will remain at a standstill and more empty houses will join an already depressed housing market. There is a clear need for assistance. We need to use these settlement dollars for what they are intended – to help homeowners keep their homes.
Home foreclosures have a devastating effect on homeowners and their families and on communities, we must make reinvestment in HEMAP a top priority.
HEMAP has a 30 year history of successfully helping homeowners stay in their homes. Therefore, it is imperative that this critical program be reinstated using these funds. I plan to continue working with my Senate Democratic colleagues to push for the reinstatement of HEMAP using these settlement dollars, as well as a permanent, long-term funding stream for this valuable program.
You can find out more specifics about the HEMAP and provide your feedback on my website at senatorhughes.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@SenatorHughes).
Offices of State
Senator Vincent Hughes