Written by Chad Coffman
Financial troubles can strike suddenly. An unexpected expense, sudden job loss or medical emergency can make it hard for a family to pay its mortgage, property taxes or condominium fees.
Fortunately, the statewide Step Forward Michigan program can help homeowners stay in their homes by giving them the money they need to get caught up on their property tax, mortgage or condominium fee payments. This not only helps homeowners but neighborhoods and communities that stay stronger with fewer foreclosed homes.
The U.S. Department of Treasury created the Hardest Hit Fund in 2010 to provide aid to states that were particularly affected by the financial downturn and housing market crash. As part of this program, Michigan received over $761 million in federal funds to implement Step Forward Michigan, which helps prevent foreclosures and stabilize communities by providing assistance to homeowners struggling to make their mortgage, property tax or condominium fee payments. To date, more than 34,000 homeowners statewide have received assistance from the program, and more than $40 million in funds remains to be tapped into for Michigan residents.
The Step Forward Michigan program provides interest free loans of up to $30,000 to help homeowners catch up on delinquent property taxes, mortgage payments and condominium association fees. The loans are forgivable at 20 percent each year, as long as the property remains the homeowner’s primary residence. If the homeowner is still in the home after five years, the loan is completely forgiven.
To qualify for assistance, residents must have experienced an involuntary hardship that caused the delinquency and have enough income to cover their future mortgage and property tax payments once they’re caught up.
Getting into financial difficulty isn’t hard — all it takes is an unexpected expense or a few months of unemployment. Step Forward Michigan has been instrumental in helping Michigan residents get caught up, get back on their feet and keep their homes. Help is just a mouse click or a phone call away.
For additional information on the Step Forward Michigan program or to see if you qualify, please visit the Step Forward Michigan website at StepForwardMichigan.org or call toll-free (866) 946-7432 for assistance.
Chad Coffman is the project lead of Step Forward Michigan