Homeowners’ Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program

From 1984 until July 2011, the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) has offered a unique program that helps people who—through no fault of their own—are facing mortgage foreclosure: the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP).

HEMAP helped people bring their mortgage payments up-to-date through a loan from the state, as long as they have a reasonable prospect of resuming full mortgage payments within two to three years.

HEMAP is a model program

The federal Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP) is modeled after the very successful HEMAP program in Pennsylvania. In 2011, Congressman Barney Frank described HEMAP as, “the single most effective anti-foreclosure program that has been put forward.”

In its report, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York stated that the HEMAP “program has helped most participants retain their homes while paying off their loans—at a potentially lower cost than that of other relief initiatives”—about $1,600 per case compared to about $13,600 for the federal HAMP program.

In May, 2011, Moody’s found that the HEMAP program is “credit positive” for PHFA — helping to strengthen PHFA’s loan portfolio and its bond program.

One budget proposal suggests cutting all state appropriations for the Homeowners’ Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP). HEMAP provides critical support to homeowners who are experiencing financial difficulties due to no fault of their own. The HEMAP program has been extremely successful and served as a model for the national Emergency Homeowners’ Loan Program (EHLP). Not only does eliminating funding for HEMAP eliminate a lifeline for thousands, it also fundamentally changes the way that the foreclosure process works in Pennsylvania. RHLS has drafted a memorandum describing the unintended consequences of failing to adequately fund HEMAP.


On May 28, 2011, PHFA published a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin noting that there will not be sufficient funds to make new HEMAP loans as of July 1, 2011.