(HARRISBURG) – – Legislation that will provide a multi-year funding stream for the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) has been approved by the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee. Senator John R. Gordner (R-27) introduced Senate Bill 1433 to utilize funds from a recent settlement with the nation’s lenders to re-institute the effective mortgage assistance program in Pennsylvania. The Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, chaired by Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) today unanimously reported the bill to the full Senate for consideration.
“The Attorneys General of 49 states, including Pennsylvania, have reached a $25 billion settlement with the country’s five largest lenders to end mortgage servicing and foreclosure abuses that stemmed from the recent lending scandal,” said Senator Gordner. “Pennsylvania will receive $50 to $60 million to be used for consumer and mortgage foreclosure protection programs.”
Senate Bill 1433 creates a trust fund with the settlement dollars for the purposes of funding consumer protection programs and HEMAP for an extended period of years and requires no tax dollars. Due to state funding issues, HEMAP faces elimination in a tight budget.
“HEMAP has proven to be highly effective,” said Senator Gordner. “In previous testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency reported that nearly 80 percent of homeowners who took part in the program remain in their homes. That’s good for our communities and a necessary part of an economic recovery.”
HEMAP, created in 1983, provides temporary assistance to homeowners facing the loss of their homes due to circumstances beyond their control, such as the recently unemployed and those facing medical emergencies. The program works with those likely to be able to resume future payments and has assisted 46,000 Pennsylvania families since its inception.
Senate Bill 1433 targets 90 percent of the settlement funds for HEMAP and 10 percent to the Attorney General’s office for housing consumer protection programs. The bill has broad bi-partisan support with 22 Republican and Democratic senators as co-sponsors.