Emergency Mortgage Program Ends

This year marked the end of the Pennsylvania Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, or HEMAP. In the 2011-2012 budget, lawmakers gave the program just $2 million. That money was easily used up by September, and now the program is fizzling out. While many have advocated for reinstatement, lawmakers insist there is not enough money to do so.

HEMAP was a program that gave those struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments a workable solution to allow them to keep their homes. Estimates indicate 170,000 homes will be in foreclosure by the end of 2012 and the program itself has been in place for 30 years. Still, budget concerns mean there is no longer enough money to fund it.

So what can distressed homeowners do now? The first step when facing foreclosure is to contact a bankruptcy attorney or one with experience in foreclosure defense to help you understand your rights and the options available to you. This will ensure that you pursue every possible solution to save your home.

Banks may be willing to work with homeowners to find workable solutions to keep them in their homes through loan modification. It can cost more for a bank to foreclose than for it to work out a new repayment plan with a home's occupants. Therefore, you may be able to negotiate. Working with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to negotiate on your behalf can help.

In addition, while Pennsylvania state help may be gone, some federal programs still exist that help homeowners stay in their homes. The Making Home Affordable Program has several options for distressed homeowners. Your attorney will be able to help you decide if a federal program will fit your circumstances.

If these options fail, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow you to keep your home. Again, an attorney will be able to help you make this determination and guide you through the bankruptcy process. HEMAP may be gone, but there are still options out there to help struggling homeowners.