The state will be getting a significant chunk of change from the recently announced mortgage foreclosure settlement with the big banks. Housing advocates believe some of that expected $69-million dollars should be used to restore the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program. “It’s appropriate to put this foreclosure money back into a solution that is foreclosure related,” says Liz Hersh, executive director of the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania.
She points to a new analysis by the Reinvestment Fund, which shows that that the HEMAP program saved 6,100 homes from foreclosure between 2008 – 2010. While the state invested $38-million dollars into HEMAP over that time, the study pegs the cost savings at $480-million dollars.
The issue of the mortgage foreclosure settlement was broached at Monday’s Appropriations Hearing with Budget Secretary Charles Zogby. “I think certainly something like the HEMAP program is one that many have interest in seeing some of those funds go to, but that is ultimately to be decided,” Zogby told the Senate panel. He says discussions are taking place between the Governor’s Office and Attorney General’s Office.
The current state budget reduced HEMAP funding from $10.5-million dollars to $2-million dollars. That money dried up early on, and the program is not currently slated for funding in the newly proposed state budget.