A program that has helped tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians facing mortgage foreclosure may be ending.
Gov. Tom Corbett’s original budget plan did not include funding for the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program. The House has included $7.8 million for the program, which is 75 percent of the current year funding.
HEMAP gives responsible, but temporarily at-risk, homeowners the time, counseling and financial assistance to keep mortgage payments current with the help of loans from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. The program provides a 120-day breather before foreclosure can begin.
The mortgage assistance program has provided almost $442 million in assistance to Pennsylvania families in the past 27 years. Roughly 85 percent of the people who received loans kept their homes and repaid the loans.
The Obama administration modeled a national effort after the successful Pennsylvania program. Both the Wall Street Journal and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York commended Pennsylvania for HEMAP.
The foreclosure crisis is not a Philadelphia problem or a poor-people problem. These are difficult times and difficult decisions have to be made. But the state Senate and the governor should endorse the House’s action and guarantee that HEMAP will continue to do the good work of keeping taxpayers in their homes. This is a sound investment of state tax dollars.