Unemployed Homeowner Provision Survives Reform Bill Compromise

The sweeping financial regulatory reform bill agreed to this morning includes a provision sought by U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) to help unemployed homeowners facing foreclosure. A conference of House representatives and senators agreed early this morning on the financial reform bill after weeks of debate. It must still go to a full House and Senate vote but is expected to reach President Obama’s desk for a signature by July 4. The provision provides $1bn to unemployed homeowners and is patterned after a program introduced by Fattah when he was a Pennsylvania state legislator. Pennsylvania’s Homeowner’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP) has provided $236m to tens of thousands of unemployed workers to stave off the foreclosure, according to Fattah’s office. Fattah had originally sought $3bn for the federal reform bill provision. A spokesman in Fattah’s office said they are still awaiting final word from the House-Senate committee on how the provision would be funded. There were discussions last year about using untapped Troubled Asset and Relief Program (TARP) monies as the funding mechanism. Under the program, qualified homeowners will be able to borrow up to $50,000 to assist them with their mortgage payments, provided that they have a reasonable prospect of resuming mortgage payments within 24 months. “This funding will help so many Philadelphians and homeowners across the country who risk losing their homes after falling on hard times through no fault of their own,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter in a prepared statement. Write to Kerry Curry

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