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Pennsylvania Steps Up Foreclosure Fight

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward D. Rendell announced on Monday an ""emergency executive action"":http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayReleaseContent.aspxxACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/03-09-2009/0004985368&EDATE= intended to provide immediate relief to struggling homeowners in the state. The governor is directing $5 million in state funding to be used for mortgage assistance to ""ensure that recently unemployed workers can keep their homes while they are retraining and finding new jobs,"" the governor's office said in a press statement.
Gov. Rendell said, ""Many people, through no fault of their own, now find themselves out of work and are at risk of losing their family's home. The stress these families feel to keep up with mortgage payments is enormous. I hope this gesture will help thousands fend off foreclosure next month.""
Even though billions of federal stimulus dollars will make their way to Pennsylvania in the coming months, Gov. Rendell said many families need some measure of relief now. The state's $5 million mortgage assistance program will take effect immediately and will be paid for by re-prioritizing the state's existing federal welfare money to meet this ""emergency economic need,"" the governor's office said.
The mortgage assistance program will be made available through the ""Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency"":http://www.phfa.org and is expected to reach 550 struggling homeowners. Brian A. Hudson, the agency's executive director told the _""Associated Press"":http://www.ap.org_ that homeowners must have fallen behind on their mortgage payments through no fault of their own in order to qualify for an Emergency Mortgage Assistance loan, and can use the loans to make their payments current or to satisfy part of their mortgage payments for up to 36 months.
The Pennsylvania Legislature is also currently considering a measure for mortgage foreclosure conciliation. ""Senate Bill No. 222"":http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billinfo/billinfo.cfmxsyear=2009&sind=0&body=S&type=B&BN=0222 would require county courts to establish residential foreclosure mediation programs to assist homeowners and lenders in achieving a mutually agreeable resolution to a mortgage foreclosure action.
Under guidelines outlined in the bill, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would develop a model for the implementation of such programs. The bill would mandate a conciliation conference between the parties involved in the foreclosure before any sheriff’s sale can take place. The mediation would be conducted by a civil case manager or other delegate of the court and would address such issues as whether or not the homeowner met with a consumer credit counseling agency and whether the agency provided options to resolve the foreclosure action.
The Pennsylvania law firm of ""Goldbeck McCafferty & McKeever"":http://www.goldbecklaw.com, which specializes in real estate foreclosure, home retention, and loan resolution, said that it is ""working diligently to educate the Pennsylvania Legislature on this important issue.""

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.

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