Throughout its history, the Pennsylvania’s HEMAP has received great acclaim for its design and impact. HEMAP is a program that was designed to provide temporary assistance to families who, through not fault of their own, were seriously delinquent with their home mortgage. Reinvestment Fund released a Research Brief titled “What if Pennsylvania Had Not Had HEMAP?” in 2012. At the time, Pennsylvania, like much of the United States, was climbing out of the throes of one of the most significant recessions in our nation’s history.
This Research Brief follows the impact of the program since that time. This Brief builds on annual counts of applications and loans, and attaches a financial impact to the saving of thousands of mortgage foreclosures that HEMAP prevents in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. With the decline in foreclosures and general improvement in the financial condition of the Commonwealth’s residents and housing and mortgage markets since 2012, HEMAP application and origination volume has dropped off. But with an annual operating cost of under $3 million per year for staff, counseling and program administration, HEMAP continues to have an impact across the Commonwealth that exceeds many times its cost.
Reinvestment Fund analyzed Pennsylvania’s Homeowner’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) with support from the William Penn Foundation. The summary findings include that from 2008 to 2010, HEMAP saved more than 6,100 Pennsylvania homeowners from foreclosure. The number of homes saved from foreclosure by HEMAP amounted to between 4.6% and 5.1% of the total inventory of homes in foreclosure. The report also found that the program averted a combined $480 million in financial impact of foreclosures.
Through HEMAP, people struggling to pay their mortgage due to circumstances out of their control can access emergency loans. Each loan covers the amount homeowners owe to the bank (their delinquent payments) and sometimes includes continuous assistance until they get back on their feet. By filling that gap and making sure the mortgage is back on track, HEMAP prevents foreclosures and keeps people housed.
HEMAP has certainly evolved over the years, but its core purpose remains the same, to support people in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. Since the start of the program, HEMAP has assisted around 50,500 families and disbursed approximately $575 million in loans. The program has also made an impact across the country. When it was established, HEMAP was the first program of its kind in the United States. Its success has resulted in the model being replicated by almost every state in the nation.