Counseling for Homeowners
Pennsylvania residents are eligible for FREE housing counseling to help you with your mortgage delinquency, preventing foreclosure, and managing your debt. Choose each topic below to get a brief description to help you determine which program best fits your needs.
Financial Education & Coaching
PHFA developed the Financial Education and Coaching Program to help renters, homebuyers, and homeowners understand and improve their personal finances. Whether you are considering buying a home, currently in the market, a first-time or long-term homeowner, struggling to make your payments, or just want to improve your credit, this series of four workshops can help you learn to manage your money. The workshops are provided in a group setting and are available to you at no cost through one of our certified housing counselors.
After you've completed your Financial Education sessions, you're eligible to meet with a counselor one-on-one to get help with your personal finances. These private coaching sessions can be either face-to-face or on the phone, and are also free of charge.
Program topics include:
- Goals, Assets, and Earnings
- Will help you understand your personal assets and how to set financial goals.
- You will also learn about different sources of income, and how employer-provided benefits contribute to your overall financial health.
- Spend, Save, and Invest
- Teaches steps to making effective money decisions, choosing between needs and wants, and managing your cash flow.
- You will learn the differences between saving and investing, and how to diversify your savings and investments to maximize and protect your assets.
- Review Taxes, Manage Risk, and Protect Your Money
- Will teach you the basics of income taxes, and understanding your income tax return.
- You will also discuss tools to manage risk, including insurance, identity theft protection, and Consumer Protection Resources.
- How to Get, Use, and Manage Credit
- This final section will discuss the importance of maintaining good credit, and how to use it to build your assets.
To locate a counseling agency in your area, please choose a county from the menu list below; or, select "All Counties" for a statewide list.
Foreclosure Assistance / HEMAP / Act 91
If you have received an Act 91 Notice from your lender, you may be eligible for financial assistance to avoid foreclosure and help make your mortgage payments through Act 91 of 1983, the Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP Loan).
The Agency has a program to assist with delinquent mortgages, the Homeowners' Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, known as HEMAP. The process begins with your lender issuing an Act 91 Notice. This Notice advises you of your right to apply for a loan from this Program which could cover your delinquent payments as well as assist on a monthly basis if the household income is insufficient. The main areas of eligibility are that the property must be owner-occupied, you must be delinquent due to circumstances beyond your control and you must be able to show that you will be able to resume the full mortgage payments within a maximum of 24 months. Once you get an Act 91 Notice, you should contact a counseling agency as listed within the Notice. If you apply timely, within 33 days from the date of the Notice, no further action can be taken by your lender. Once you meet with a counselor, they have 30 days to submit your application to HEMAP and upon receipt, HEMAP has 60 days to make a decision. You will be notified by mail of the decision. As long as the process remains timely, your lender cannot take foreclosure action.
Foreclosure Mitigation & Act 6
PHFA has established a network of counseling agencies to provide foreclosure mitigation counseling to homeowners of owner-occupied homes whose mortgages are in default or in danger of default. These mortgages may be subject to a foreclosure action. Homeowners will be provided with such assistance that will consist of activities that are likely to prevent foreclosures and result in the "long-term affordability" of the mortgage or other positive outcomes for the homeowner.
The counseling sessions associated with this initiative are FREE services to the homeowner and will involve a reasonable analysis of the borrower's financial situation, an evaluation of the current value of the property that is subject to the mortgage, and/or counseling regarding the possible purchase of the mortgage in question. Counseling and advice of all likely restructuring and refinancing strategies or the approval of a workout strategy by all interested parties is required.
Residential Mortgage Mediation Program
The Residential Mortgage Mediation Program was created to provide a stay of foreclosure on owner-occupied homes, which provides an opportunity for the lender and borrower to reach an agreement to avoid foreclosure and reinstate the loan.