The Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) is a program within the state of Pennsylvania that has been inexistence since 1983 and is administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA). Other similar homeowners assistance programs exist in other areas of the country as well as some federal programs that attempt to help struggling homeowners.
The Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program of Pennsylvania is considered one of the best state-specific programs available to help homeowners who face foreclosure. The program is only available to Pennsylvania residents who are having trouble keeping up with their mortgage payments based on unforeseen financial problems. Qualifying events include:
- Loss of a job.
- Divorce or marital separation.
- Illness or death of a spouse.
This program is not designed for homeowners who did not budget correctly or who spent themselves into massive debt and therefore can no longer afford their mortgage payments. HEMAP is designed to help homeowners who have otherwise effectively managed their personal finances and just need some assistance in avoiding foreclosure. Other qualifying factors necessary for approval into this program include:
- The homeowner can demonstrate the financial ability to maintain the mortgage loan after the account is brought up to date by the HEMAP loan proceeds.
- The mortgage loan is already in delinquent status because of two of more late payments.
- The homeowner has a history of on-time payments prior to the financial hardship.
- The existing mortgage loan is not an FHA loan.
- The house is a primary residence and is located within Pennsylvania.
- The total amount of past-due mortgage payments and fees does not total $60,000 or more.
Not Free Money
HEMAP does not give grants to struggling homeowners. Instead, this program issues loans which are designed to allow homeowners to catch up on mortgage payments and any accumulated fees assessed by the mortgage company as a result of late payments.
Because the funds are disbursed in the form of a loan instead of in the form of a grant, homeowners who are approved for this program must be prepared to pay the funds back incrementally. Additionally, it is important to note that this program is not available to all struggling Pennsylvanians. Homeowners must apply for, and get approved, for a loan through HEMAP. Approval is not guaranteed.
Apply for HEMAP
Pennsylvania residents who want to apply for HEMAP, or to find out more information about this assistance program, should visit the official HEMAP Help Center. This informative website details all the necessary steps that need to be taken in order to apply for a loan, including a visit with a housing counselor and a detailed application that must be filled out.
In order to access the HEMAP Help Center, visitors to the site must create an account. This is a free registration process but is necessary to receive access to the information and application procedures contained within the website.
Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Programs in Other States
Other state and federal programs are available to struggling homeowners who do not reside within Pennsylvania or who do not qualify for the HEMAP program for whatever reason.
Working directly with your lender, you may be able to avoid foreclosure by obtaining a mortgage loan modification or some other program. If your home loan is guaranteed through an agency -such as FHA or VA- you may be able to receive assistance through these agencies as well.
Additionally, help is available to homeowners through The Homeownership Preservation Program, which is a nonprofit organization that offers counseling to homeowners who may be at risk for foreclosure. Programs available through this source are centered around counseling the homeowner regarding options as well as directing homeowners to appropriate sources for additional help. This organization does not offer financial assistance, but can be an excellent starting point for finding out what programs are available when facing foreclosure.