Counseling Agencies will contact the borrowers within forty-eight to seventy-two hours to accept them into the program.
Appointments are set-up with these agencies, generally within a week of the borrower’s initial call to the hotline. This allows time for the counseling agency to send the borrower information outlining the documentation that will be needed at the counseling appointment. The Allegheny County Department of Economic Development will then request that a Conciliation Conference be scheduled before the Honorable John T. McVay, Jr. The request for conciliation conference is posted on the Civil Division Court Records website. The County Manager’s office then prepares an order of court that will schedule a Conciliation Hearing, which also places a hold on the foreclosure proceedings. These orders are then presented to Judge McVay for signature. The signed orders are delivered to the Civil Division Court Records, and the orders are posted on the website. The order temporarily prevents the lenders from being able to continue the foreclosure process. Copies of this order are mailed to all parties involved by the Department of Court Records. Until the scheduled hearing occurs, the Housing Counselors continue to work with the borrowers in an attempt to reach an agreement between the borrower and lender. The Housing Counselors send the Department of Economic Development a follow-up form concerning the progress of the loan modification. Economic Development reviews the information and provides Judge McVay with a summary of the scheduled conciliations so that he may determine which cases need to be:
- Removed from the program
- Continued for another Conciliation Hearing allowing enough time to reach an agreement between parties
- Settled and Discontinued
Failing to Participate in the Program
Eligible borrowers who choose not to participate in this program or fail to follow through with appointments with the counseling agencies will be subject to the rules of the mortgage foreclosure process.
The Mortgage Foreclosure Program was initiated on January 12, 2009, by then President Judge Joseph James’ Administrative Order. It was modeled after the program implemented by County Commissioner Pete Flaherty and Sheriff Gene Coon in response to an alarming increase in mortgage foreclosures brought about by the declining steel industry. The primary objective of the Mortgage Foreclosure Program is to provide a single unified process for the amicable resolution of Mortgage foreclosure proceedings through court interventions, counseling, and conciliation. In addition to Judge John T. Mc Vay, Jr. of the Fifth Judicial District of the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County Economic Development, the Allegheny County Sheriff, the Allegheny County Bar Association, and several private credit counseling agencies also play substantive roles in this effort.