Philadelphia sheriff to resume foreclosures in April
The Philadelphia Sheriff's Office will resume foreclosure sales on April 4 after a three-month moratorium. When the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, a local consumer advocacy group, petitioned the city's court, a 30-day hold on sales began Dec. 23. The group claimed that foreclosures shouldn't be carried out until $106 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's new mortgage assistance program for the unemployed reaches local homeowners. HUD is set to release up to $1 billion nationwide through interest-free loans for unemployed homeowners. HUD was going to begin accepting applications for the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program this spring, but House Republicans recently voted to end the program through a bill President Obama said would be vetoed should it reach his desk. In January, President Judge Pamela Dembe of the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia issued another moratorium for both the February and March monthly auction sales. Sheriff sales are similar to normal foreclosure auctions; certain states around the country, however, require that a sheriff preside over the sale. Local attorneys in Philadelphia estimate more than 3,000 properties will go on the auction block in April. In all of 2010, more than 36,000 properties in the Philadelphia area received a foreclosure filing, according to RealtyTrac. Protesters organized by the Philadelphia Unemployment Project plan to march Thursday both at the sheriff's office and at the HUD regional headquarters in Philadelphia. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.