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HARRISBURG — In an abrupt change, Pennsylvania’s struggling mortgage relief program will no longer work with the private firm originally hired to run it, and will begin a new transition February 1st. Temporarily stop accepting applications.
Less than a week after moving Spotlight PA Survey Found The program struggles to get the information it needs from mortgage companies, and homeowners have to wait months for answers and help. As a result, some applicants have suspended public works and their credit scores plummeted.
According to the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, the application suspension was announced just days ago to program time to address pending application backlogs and process migrations from contractor software systems. It’s something you give to.
It is unknown how long the program will be closed to new applications. Homeowners with pending applications will not have to resubmit their applications but will be required to enroll in the new system, an agency spokesperson said in a news release. , the applicant will receive an email with follow-up information.
The agency did not respond to questions from Spotlight PA as to why it made the change.
The program, which has received $350 million in funding from federal pandemic assistance and was launched last February, will cover mortgage and utility debt, delinquent property taxes, other housing costs, and It covers ongoing mortgage payments for some homeowners.
However, due to problems coordinating with mortgage companies, the program fell short of its internal goal of providing assistance to homeowners within 60 days of application. By mid-December, his average wait time had more than doubled.
As of January 30, the program has paid out approximately $94 million. This is about a quarter of what is available. During her first six months, Pennsylvania’s spending rate was similar to other states. Similar difficulty.
After Pennsylvania legislators decided that the Housing Authority would oversee the program, officials there said: Outsourced day-to-day management According to the agency’s newsletter, it’s due to the “huge effort” required to quickly launch a new and complex program.
In October 2021, PHFA signed a five-year contract worth $27.5 million with Innovative Emergency Management, Inc. Innovative Emergency Management, Inc. is a company with a long track record of implementing disaster relief programs. IEM was also hired to run comparable mortgage programs in North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Virginia.
According to the agreement, the housing agency approved program policies and maintained oversight, while the IEM was responsible for processing applications, disbursing funds, marketing, and providing a call center to respond to applicants’ questions. .
Complaints about lack of communication from IEM caseworkers haunted the program. Nearly 20 applicants told Spotlight PA that they struggled to get updates from the program, growing frustrated and anxious during long waits. The homeowner said the assigned caseworker stopped responding to calls and emails, and the call center provided only vague updates.
As part of the overhaul, applicants will be assigned new contacts the week of February 6th. FAQ Posted online by PHFA. Questions include: How long does it take to process? ”
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