Find help in Pennsylvania with your mortgage and stopping foreclosures.

Get help with your paying your mortgage and assistance with avoiding a foreclosure in all cities including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Homeowners can turn to non-profits, local government agencies, or the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA), and they may also be able to provide various forms of help. Also call an agency or resource below in order to obtain information on other state assistance programs offered by Pennsylvania that will help you with paying other bills.

In addition to the state programs below, certain cities and regions, such as Philadelphia and Lehigh County, offers their own program to help with mortgages. This includes mediation, access to free counseling, and other support.

Mortgage Refinance Options

You can refinance to an Affordable Loan Program (REAL) - Is your interest-only mortgage, subprime loan or adjustable rate expected to soon reset to a much higher rate? Are you in danger of losing your home if you can’t refinance your mortgage to more affordable terms? If you need help with these, or other situations, then the Pennsylvania REAL program may be your answer. Call 800.322.7572.

The REAL program offers residents an attractive 30-year fixed rate on a new home loan. Because this assistance program combines 100 percent financing with flexible terms and credit underwriting, it can provide relief to homeowners who otherwise may not be eligible for typical mortgage refinance programs. It will lower a borrowers monthly payments, so the relief should come in the form of lower mortgage bills which should help you with repaying your lender.

The gross annual income of all potential borrowers can’t be higher than $120,000. Certain exceptions may apply though.

  • You can’t be more than 59 days past due on your existing mortgage bills and debt.
  • You need to have a credit score of at least 620 or you need to meet some or all of the following conditions:




    • Your current mortgage payment was adjusted in the previous 12 months to a higher interest rate or was adjusted to a fully amortized payment. Also, you can’t have made no more than two, 30-day late payments since that adjustment. Your mortgage payment history for 12 months prior to the mortgage adjustment must show no history of late payments.
    • Your credit history of other debts, such as credit cards, car loans, etc. needs to show no more than three, 30-day late payments 12 months prior to the adjustment of your mortgage.
  • You can may borrow up to 100 percent of your home's value based upon a current appraisal. The new loan may also be used to finance other outstanding loans and mortgages, with some exceptions.
  • Your monthly total debt costs, such as car loans, credit cards, and installment loans may not be more than 50 percent of your total gross monthly income.

The PHFA mortgage assistance program also offers free counseling that can help review your specific situation and help advise and you sort through your options. If you do not qualify for mortgage assistance under the REAL program, PHFA's HERO program (below) may be able to offer assistance.

Homeowners' Equity Recovery Opportunity Loan Program (HERO)

HERO is a mortgage assistance program that is also designed to improve the financial situation of Pennsylvanians who can’t pay or afford their current payment. The HERO program will provide for up to 100 percent financing. There are some rules around it though. Instead of refinancing your current home loan into a new mortgage, PHFA will purchase your outstanding loan directly from your current lender and then PHFA will set you up on an affordable repayment agreement.

This program is for any borrowers who are not eligible for PHFA's REAL program above (Refinance to an Affordable Loan) or if you are not eligible for another mortgage refinance product that may be available in the general market due to credit issues. It can also help those homeowners who owe more than your home's current appraised value, so it helps families that are “underwater”. Funding for the HERO mortgage assistance program is limited. All loans are reviewed by PHFA on a case-by-case basis as the funding levels permit.




How can HERO help you?

  • The HERO assistance program provides a fixed-rate mortgage for up to 30 years for an amount that is up to 100 percent of your home's current value.
  • HERO will provide borrowers with an affordable interest rate.
  • If you owe more than your home's current value on your existing mortgage, PHFA can negotiate with your current mortgage lender or bank to reduce the amount you owe on your loan.
  • The HERO loan can be used to pay off bills including closing costs, the current mortgage debt, prepayment penalties, and even delinquent property taxes.
  • All approved participants in this program need to attend financial counseling at a PHFA-approved agency in Pennsylvania. This counseling will help increase your financial knowledge and also help you learn how to more effectively manage your bills, debt, save your money, and budget your income.

To apply, some or all of the following criteria need to be met.

  • The gross annual income of all potential borrowers may not exceed $120,000, however certain exceptions may apply.
  • You need to have had to made an effort to satisfy your financial obligations to the best of your ability.
  • You need to have stable and sufficient income to support timely repayment of the HERO loan in regular, monthly installments.
  • You need to own the mortgaged property and also reside in it as your permanent residence.

Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP)

Thousands of Pennsylvania homeowners as well as lower income families who have been faced with the possible loss of their homes through a foreclosure filing have received help from the Homeowners’ Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP). This unique program, created in 1983, is the only mortgage assistance program of its kind in the country.





HEMAP was created to be a cost effective means to reduce and stop homelessness among Pennsylvanians residents. By giving the assurance of steady mortgage payments, it allows homeowners to find alternate job training, employment, and/or education when they need the help the  most. The assistance program is funded by State appropriations and through the repayment of existing HEMAP loans.

HEMAP is a loan program that is designed to protect Pennsylvanians who, through no fault of their own, are having difficulty or are financially unable to make their mortgage payments. It will focus on people who are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. HEMAP funds loaned to residents to help prevent foreclosure are not a grant. The money provided is a loan and must be repaid. Phone number is 800.322.7572.

Allegheny County mortgage assistance

Any homeowners in Allegheny County, including the city of Pittsburgh, whose properties are about to be foreclosed on by their lender will receive a bright pink card/notice along with the initial foreclosure notice. This card will provide the homeowner with a toll-free number that the borrower needs to call to enroll in the mortgage assistance program. This program will then give the homeowner a court-ordered 90-day window to negotiate with the bank or mortgage lender to try to save the property from foreclosure. The borrower will also have the ability to negotiate new, more affordable mortgage payment terms, a new interest rate, or come up with another solution.

Those people who need additional help will also be put in touch with a nonprofit housing counselor free of charge to help them to try to work out arrangements with their mortgage company. The counselor will then set up a conference under a judge's supervision to determine if they can work out an arrangement between the homeowner and mortgage servicer or lender. Existing state help may also be available.

Foreclosure counseling agencies

The federal government Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has certified dozens of local agencies throughout Pennsylvania to provide housing support and other forms of foreclosure counseling to homeowners. Most of the advice and support is offered free of charge to qualified Pennsylvania borrowers. Learn more.

Philadelphia mortgage help

Philadelphia is offering a fairly unique, one of a kind mortgage program called the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Pilot Program. It forces lenders to meet with homeowners prior to foreclosing and ensures those banks offer various options to the borrower so they can find a solution to the crisis. Thousands of families from across the metropolitan area have benefited from this service. Learn more on the Philadelphia foreclosure mediation program.

National mortgage servicer Fannie Mae has also opened a center in Philadelphia that can provide free consultations, services, and negotiations to local homeowners. You can work directly with a well trained Fannie Mae housing counselor. Read more.

In addition to the city of Philadelphia’s plan indicated above, there are numerous other ways to delay, if not stop, a foreclosure on your home. The city encourages residents to explore all options that may be available to them. More.





Lehigh County foreclosure mediation

When a foreclosure notice is filed in Lehigh County, they ensure that the homeowner and the bank or lender meet to discuss options to try to save the home. The county mandates that this mediation session occurs between all the parties in the transaction. Continue.

Assistance from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency

This state agency offers loans to people who are facing a short term hardship, such as a job loss or reduction in income. The money can be applied toward either past mortgage payments or help pay for a future payment. Many other states across the nation are reviewing this service and are considering offering it to struggling homeowners in their areas. Click here to read more on this program.

Countrywide/Bank of America - The state of Pennsylvania, along with many other government organizations, has received grants and funds from this lender. All money will be flowing to homeowners who received a subprime mortgage and whose home was subsequently foreclosed on. Find how to get mortgage aid from Countrywide/Bank of America, which is offering counseling as well as mortgage assistance to Pennsylvania residents.

Lycoming County Mediation

The local court system, non-profit attorneys, and housing counseling agencies have partnered together to create a new Lycoming County foreclosure mediation program. All parties will meet to see if some form of payment plan or waiver can be entered into. Read more on this option for local homeowners.

Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, and Allegheny County

Homeowners who live in the western part of the state, including Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, can receive free foreclosure counseling as well as other forms of help from NeighborWorks. The non-profit agency offers a variety of mortgage and foreclosure programs. Click here to learn more.



By Jon McNamara

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