Thursday, July 28, 2011

When good policy is defunded

Oh man, this is bad. I mean, really bad. Like one of the worst ideas to flow out of Harrisburg in a long long time.   For those who follow these things, it remains true that Pennsylvania has fared at least relatively well (or how about 'less bad') in the vast foreclosure crisis that hit most everywhere in the nation.  There is not any one explanation for why that is, but one big factor has been that Pennsylvania was remarkably ahead of the curve (how often does that happen?) in policies aimed at foreclosure prevention.  Why that is may all relate to our past economic calamities that forced us to deal with these types of things long before others.   

So one of the key programs that kept Pennsylvania stable was the state's longstanding HEMAP program, which I m just now seeing is being defunded and thus shutting down for the most part.  I am not sure anyone has ever done a cost benefit analsyis of any kind on the program, but this just has to be one of those programs that has a benefit far outweighing the costs. No matter what your political or philosophical bent it's hard to see how this makes sense.  In fact I think it had a sort of omni-political level of support.

It just ... like.... I'm speechless.  Bad. Bad. Bad.

h/t @capitol_ideas for pointing it out.  I have just been distracted or I should have caught this earlier. I see the Inky had some longer coverage earlier in the month.



Anonymous MSL said...

They had to make cuts somewhere, and everyone else lobbied to get proposed cuts to their favored programs reduced. I'm guessing there isn't a very powerful unemployed homeowner lobby and the program wasn't very big, so unfortunately, that was a program that was easy to cut without expending much political capital.

Thursday, July 28, 2011 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger Bram Reichbaum said...

HEMAP. Does it do generally this kind of work, I bet? Is there another side of the coin regarding these programs keeping home prices inflated, and contributing to the bubble? Was HEMAP involved in loans or mainly grants?

It doesn't seem like it could be a small program (as MSL conjectures) yet also be big enough to help mitigate the foreclosure crisis statewide as you suggest Chris.

Friday, July 29, 2011 1:50:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

The analogy is that one program is akin to the one night stand, while the other your signigicant other who has been with you for decades.

HEMAP is indeed not the largest program, and had a certain amount of sustainability to it which means it really had minimal cost to the state.

and while I can;t imagine anyone ever studied this, I dont believe anyone has ever postulated the program as having been a cause of undue or artifical inflation in any housing market in the state... Some of us might even like to see some inflation in the real estate market

Friday, July 29, 2011 7:40:00 AM  
Anonymous n'at said...

HEMAP was exclusively for PHFA loans, yes? Can PHFA loan holders receive assistance from other sources, or does the state run program implicitly inhibit or explicitly bar solicitation or assistance from other lenders or not-for-profit agencies?

Friday, July 29, 2011 8:31:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

HEMAP was exclusively for PHFA loans, yes?

I do not think that is the case.

Friday, July 29, 2011 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

or 'was' as it were.

but eligibility seems rather broad:

Friday, July 29, 2011 10:07:00 AM  

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