Philadelphia,  June 17, 2011 – State Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione joined local bank executives, homeowners and consumer advocates in support of restored funding for Pennsylvania’s emergency mortgage assistance program.

At a news conference at City Hall, Tartaglione said preventing foreclosures is a key component of economic recovery.

“Over the next two weeks, I will be urging my colleagues to remember that keeping a family in their home is more than just good will.  It’s good policy,” she said.

“It holds families together, which holds neighborhoods together, which holds communities together.”

Funding for Pennsylvania’s Homeowner Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program was eliminated in Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget proposal, announced in March.

Tartgaglione said a projected state budget surplus should prevent cuts that would put homes and neighborhoods at risk.

“Restoring our commitment to HEMAP is an investment in people, neighborhoods, small businesses and big banks. It floats all boats,” she said. “Taking away the help when it is needed the most is bad public policy that will create more budget problems than it solves.”

Local banking officials agreed and joined Tartaglione to urge lawmakers to restore the funding in the final budget.

“We unequivocally support funding for HEMAP,” said Bill Smith, vice president for community banking at Citizen’s Bank. “HEMAP has been there to save the day.”

Supporter also heard from Sharon Greene, a Philadelphia homeowner who is working with the Philadelphia Unemployment Project to acquire HEMAP funding to prevent the foreclosure of her home.

“It’s not like you just stop working and stop paying the bills,” she said. “Things happen. And keeping your home means keeping families together.”

HEMAP was created by the legislature in 1983, and has distributed $211 and recouped $238 million in re-payments.  More than 20,000 loans have been repaid with HEMAP support.