In recent years, the home foreclosure rate nationwide has been on the rise--the annual rate is double that of two years ago--leaving many minority and low-income homeowners homeless. Short-term loans can help many of those threatened with losing their homes, and the oldest such program is Pennsylvania's Homeowner's Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program. Created by the legislature in 1983, HEMAP gives qualified homeowners either a one-time assistance loan to bring them current on their mortgage or a continuing assistance loan that can be received for no longer than 24 months or exceed $60,000. HEMAP also provides funds to nonprofit agencies to counsel delinquent homeowners and assist them with their application for aid. The law requires that all lenders send all homeowners who are at least 60 days delinquent information on HEMAP's services. Loans come with a 9 percent interest rate and must be repaid. The program has been called a best practice by the National Governors Association, and recognized by Harvard University's 2007 Innovations in American Government Awards. To learn more, click here.