State Fund Helps Michigan Homeowners
Hundreds of Michigan homeowners have applied for grants to help with financial problems caused by the epidemic, and Traverse City has joined the Michigan Homeowners Hardship Assistance Fund as the newest partner. Traverse City joins a growing number of local governments, lenders, utilities, and other organizations that have signed on to make it easier for citizens or customers to apply for grants of up to $25,000.00 through the program.
The department in charge of billing for water, sewer, and the city-owned Traverse City Light & Power is headed by City Treasurer James Henderson. He said the city doesn’t have a lot of delinquent accounts, but he sees the city’s involvement as another opportunity for those who have fallen behind on their bills to obtain help. According to HUD estimates, the higher income threshold in Grand Traverse County is $89,250.00 per year for a one-person household.
“I don’t know how much activity we’re going to see on that or how many of our customers will take advantage of that, but I just wanted it to be something available if somebody did want to do that,” James Henderson said.
Funds up to $25,000.00 can be used to prevent homeowner mortgage delinquencies, defaults, foreclosure, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacements of homeowners experiencing financial hardship on or after January 21, 2020, or for those homeowners who experience a coronavirus pandemic financial hardship that began before January 21, 2020, but continued after that date. To be eligible for assistance under Michigan’s MIHAF Program, Michigan homeowners must have incomes equal to or less than 150% of the area median income household limit in accordance with HUD’S FY 2021 HAF Income Limits. However, priority is given to households with incomes equal to or less than 100% of Area Median Income (AMI) and those identified as Socially Disadvantaged Individuals (SDI).
“Just as every Michigander deserves an affordable, attainable place to call home, they also need a fast, reliable high-speed internet connection to have equitable access to news, information, and jobs,” MSDHA spokeswoman Katie Bach said.
According to Allison Popa, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-certified budget housing coach with NMCAA, the agency is assisting clients with the application process and has filed about 20 applications so far.
“We had quite a spike last month because it was a deadline for a lot of homeowners to get assistance or pay their property tax bills or lose their homes to foreclosure,” she said, adding the agency helped seven households avoid foreclosure through other means.