Homeowners protest upcoming sheriff's sale

March 24, 2011 3:32:06 PM PDT
Center City Philadelphia was the scene of protest against the resumption of sheriff's sales while the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development delays a program designed to help hurting homeowners.

Among the protesters were unemployed homeowners living on the edge.

Protesters want to delay the pending April sheriff's sale and for US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to release the money Congress set aside for the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program (EHLP), a no interest bridge loan of up to $50,000 aimed at, among others, the unemployed who are in mortgage trouble. .

The money was supposed to flow last fall, but today the HUD website says it is still not ready.

"Why let everybody suffer when we can have these funds to help many of us stay in our homes," Jean Nieves of Southwest Philadelphia said.

With that in mind, the group marched to HUD's regional office.

They were stopped at the lobby. After some negotiations, it was agreed a HUD official would address the group.

"I don't think there's anybody more supportive of this program than the Obama administration and they're working diligently to get it executed," Richard Ott of HUD said.

But with no promise of a start date, those racing against the April 5th sale remain frustrated.

Several council members promised to help halt the sale.

Frank Rizzo released a letter from the President Judge saying she was working on a special stay for those who might benefit from EHLP.

"It would be a shame, a crime, to have these people lose their homes because of a bureaucratic delay," Rizzo said.

It is at least a ray of hope for unemployed homeowners.