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Senator Hughes Lauds Reinstatement of HEMAP
On Friday, June 22, Governor Tom Corbett signed Senate Bill 1433 into law. The legislation reinstates the Home Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP), which was forced to close on July 1, 2011 after its funding was cut.
This cut created a dire situation for many families throughout Pennsylvania.
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
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.
This legislation, now known as Act 70 of 2012, will allocate up to $18.6 million from the Homeowners Assistance Settlement Fund to fund mortgage assistance measures, with 90 percent of the funding will go to HEMAP and 10 percent of the funding will go to funding consumer protection programs. HEMAP will receive $10.8 million in subsequent fiscal years.
In February, my fellow Senate Democrats and I 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 was 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 $69 million over 5 years, with $67 million going directly to HEMAP.
While this legislation does not allocate this much for HEMAP, it is a great first step in continuing this successful program and helping families deal with mortgage issues, especially during tough economic times.
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.
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. I am pleased that this lauded program will be able to continue its help to Pennsylvania homeowners and I applaud the governor in recognizing the importance of this program.
|More information about HEMAP can be found at www.phfa.org
or by calling 1.800.342.2397
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