A rally held on Tuesday, April 3 at the Capitol building in Harrisburg highlighted the need for the restoration of funds to Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP). Read more about funding in the state budget for programs that help the poor here.
HEMAP offers short-term loans to Pennsylvanians who find themselves unable to make their mortgage payments due to circumstances beyond their control. HEMAP has provided low interest loans to over 46,000 families in PA since 1984 until it was closed on July 1, 2011 due to budget cuts. Over 85% of these families have been able to remain in their homes for the long term while repaying their HEMAP loans.
Foreclosure notices increased 35% from February 2011 to February of 2012. Foreclosure filings increased 47% in southeastern Pennsylvania during the same period.
The PA Save Our Homes Coalition is advocating the funds be allocated at $20 million per year for three years with $2 million for housing counseling and $1 million of legal aid. Homeowners and advocates visited the legislature during the day asking the administration and legislature to support funding for the HEMAP program, housing counseling and legal aid to assist threatened homeowners.
Francis Viglietta, Director of Social Concerns for the PA Catholic Conference, said “Over the years, HEMAP has demonstrated its value to assist families facing foreclosure. As foreclosures continue to rise in Pennsylvania, it is more important than ever that funding for HEMAP be restored to help those in need. ”