$15 million sought to help those in danger of losing Pa. homes

    Housing advocates are calling for Pennsylvania to restore funding to a program that helps those facing foreclosure.

    After funding was all but eliminated for the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, it shut down in July.

    Advocates now are asking for a resurrection of the program known as HEMAP with funding from the state.

    Democratic Sen. Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia says the program could have been salvaged months ago if Gov. Tom Corbett had pushed to use some of the state’s the year-end surplus, which was more than $700 million.

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    “There wasn’t an issue, there wasn’t a problem, we had enough money, and what did this governor do?” said Hughes. “He said to hell with you all. He said to hell with the average homeowner in Pennsylvania. He said you don’t matter.”

    Alan Jennings, with a housing advocacy group in the Lehigh Valley, says homeowners who can pay their mortgages also have something at stake.

    “Your neighbor’s foreclosure is your problem too,” said Jennings Tuesday. “This is not just about your neighbor losing their home. It’s about the decline of property values because too much property has been dumped into the market and it’s bringing down prices.”

    The statewide coalition of housing advocates and organizations say HEMAP can be up and running again with $15 million from the surplus.

    Corbett has said those funds will more likely go to pay for storm cleanup.

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