Yesterday, I heard the story of Ms. Adena Holder, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. She owns a home with her son, but nearly lost it after her son lost his job. Fortunately, she was able to take advantage of a program in Pennsylvania called the Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP). Ms. Holder’s story of nearly losing her home is one that has become far too common in Pennsylvania and across America. Thankfully, Congressman Chaka Fattah and I were able to announce that we secured $1 billion for the Emergency Homeowners Relief Fund through the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The Emergency Homeowners Relief Fund was established to help homeowners stay in their homes if they are unable to pay their full mortgage due to unforeseen circumstances such as an illness or unemployment.
The Philadelphia Unemployment Project (PUP) hosted the event and John Dodds, its Executive Director as well as Brian Hudson, the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), both spoke about the importance of this legislation. PUP has been and continues to be a strong advocate for HEMAP, which is administered by the PHFA here in Pennsylvania. In fact, Congressman Fattah as a state legislator was one of the original architects of HEMAP in Pennsylvania in 1983. Since its inception, HEMAP has saved over 41,000 homes in Pennsylvania from foreclosure and that is just one of the reasons I advocated so strongly for this program in the Senate and why Congressman Fattah did the same in the House. I look forward to swift and effective enactment of this program, so we can ensure that families are able to remain in their homes as we move out of this difficult economic period.