"Occupy" protestors target Pa. governor

CENTER CITY - November 3, 2011

About 50 protesters marched down Broad Street to the governor's Philadelphia doorstep. The police barred them from entering the building. But they were here to pray, not fight.

"We need to tell Governor Corbett, our political leaders, to do the right thing! To do the Godly thing!" Rev. Randy Barge of the First Presbyterian Church of Olney told the crowd.

They are demanding that Corbett restore funding to MEHAP, the Homeowner's Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program. Corbett slashed the program's funding from the state budget.

The program had been around since 1983 and has helped 45,000 Pennsylvanians stay in their homes instead of losing them, to foreclosure.

State Representative Mark Cohen co-sponsored the bill that created MEHAP. He says the program practically paid for itself.

"There's actually been more money paid back on the interest than money appropriated during the history of the program. So this really is a low-cost program," said Cohen.

Corbett's office say there's just not enough money to fund the program.

But the protesters say he was able to find $11 million dollars in grants to keep the financial firm Janney, Montgomery, Scott and its 500 employees in the city. Janney's parent company posted $85-million in profits last year.

The activists say homeowners are just as important to the local economy.

"They both are economic engines," said Joan McCannon of Project Home. "They both have economic multiplier effects. They're equal."

Sharon Greene says she's a prime example. She says she would be homeless without a mortgage assistance program.

"I was on the verge of being homeless with three kids trying to figure out where I was going to locate my children," she told Action News.

Their prayers may not have fallen on deaf ears Thursday, but their protest did. Governor Corbett was in Harrisburg today and his spokesman says there's no money for mortgage assistance.

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