(HARRISBURG) – – Legislation that will provide a multi-year funding stream for the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) has been passed unanimously by the state Senate. Senate Bill 1433, introduced by Senator John R. Gordner (R-27), utilizes funds from a recent settlement with the nation’s lenders to re-institute the effective mortgage assistance program in Pennsylvania.
“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 approximately $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 has been unable to serve new clients since September 2011. The legislation targets 90 percent of the settlement dollars to HEMAP, five percent to the Attorney General for housing consumer protection programs and five percent for legal assistance related to housing issues. The bill also provides a supplemental appropriation to immediately provide $6 million to HEMAP to address a backlog.
“HEMAP has proven to be highly effective,” said Senator Gordner. “Nearly 85 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 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.