Relief Program for Homeowners with Past-Due Property Taxes Expanded by the State
A state program has recently expanded its reach to offer assistance to more Detroiters and individuals burdened by back property tax debt. Thanks to over $242 million in American Rescue Plan funds allocated to Michigan, the Michigan Homeowners Assistance Fund (MiHAP) has been established to help eligible homeowners facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To qualify for the program, applicants must meet specific income criteria and demonstrate the adverse impact of the pandemic on their financial situation. The program offers potential relief of up to $25,000 to cover various delinquent home-related expenses, such as mortgage payments, utilities, and property taxes.
Initially, the program only addressed property tax arrears from 2019 onwards. However, advocates from Detroit and Wayne County effectively lobbied for its expansion to include debt from any year. Wayne Metro Community Action Agency CEO, Louis Piszker, emphasized the significance of this change, stating, “By amending the rules, we can stabilize the situation and truly make a difference in people’s lives.” Data indicated that around 6,000 Detroiters were struggling with past-due property taxes dating back to 2019 and earlier.
The decline in tax foreclosure and property tax delinquency in Detroit over recent years is partly attributed to expanded assistance programs, including greater accessibility to the city’s HOPE property tax exemption for low-income homeowners. This success is attributed to the dedication of activists, according to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit). However, Tlaib stressed the importance of spreading awareness about the available tools to prevent tax foreclosure and provide stability for families.
Acknowledging the significance of the MiHAP program, Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree has agreed to exclude most owner-occupied homes from this year’s tax foreclosure auction. This decision enables homeowners to take advantage of the relief program’s benefits and regain control over their financial situations.
With this expanded state program, homeowners in Detroit and beyond can find support and potentially alleviate the burden of back property tax debt, creating more stable and secure environments for themselves and their families.