“Save our Homes!” – LAMPa’s work to restore the HEMAP program
Pennsylvania’s Homeowner’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) has been preventing foreclosures since 1983. Now, thanks to a funding cut of around 80% in the 2011-2012 state budget, HEMAP will essentially close down, having only enough money ($2 million) to fulfill current obligations.
A quick lesson in how HEMAP works illustrates why saving this program is so important.
HEMAP was designed to help homeowners facing foreclosure through no fault of their own – remember, the E stands for “Emergency”. HEMAP helps people behind in their mortgage due to unemployment, unexpected medical costs, abandonment by a spouse, or other extreme situations beyond their control. Since 1983, 45,000 homeowners have been able to remain in their homes thanks to HEMAP.
HEMAP loans are only given to homeowners who are able to get up to date on payments. It has received just over $240 million in state appropriations, and just over $260 million in loan repayment – proving that this short term emergency assistance saves money for all parties involved. Families helped by HEMAP would otherwise be in the homeless population – a much more expensive endeavor.
HEMAP buys homeowners time even if they do not end up receiving a HEMAP loan. In every foreclosure notice, homeowners are informed about HEMAP. Once they contact HEMAP and begin that application process, they are referred to a housing counselor during the time their application is being reviewed. Without this extra time to receive counseling, many who could find a way to save their homes would be forced into the foreclosure route.
LAMPa is currently involved in the “Save our Homes!” Coalition. More information on the coalition, including an online petition you can sign, is available at pasaveourhomes.org. You can also like them on facebook by searching “Pennsylvania Save Our Homes Coalition”. Be sure to look for more information on HEMAP from us as we get closer to the start of the fall legislative session.