By Jan Worth-Nelson
A six-year-old program of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority called “Step Forward” to help prevent foreclosures in Michigan is stepping up approaches to Flint residents affected by the water crisis or other financial troubles.
Troy Thelen of MSHDA reminded members of the Flint Water Recovery Group at a recent meeting that the Step Forward Loan Rescue program using federal Hardest Hit Fund dollars offers no-interest loan assistance to sustain home ownership.
The target population, Thelen said, are homeowners currently delinquent on property taxes, neighborhood association/condo fees, or, in the case of Flint residents, those who may have a lien on their property because of delinquent water and sewer fees.
Applicants also may qualify if they are unemployed or receiving unemployment benefits, are underemployed and can document a 20% reduction in gross income, are underwater and owe more than 115% of the property value.
He said the applicant must be the homeowner of record and live in the house.
Thelen said residents in Flint already have received $5.3 million through the loan rescue program — $3.4 million directed toward mortgage issues and $1.9 million toward property tax delinquencies. He and his staff reported that 1,564 Flint residents have received help so far.
Thelen and his staff present at the meeting said the agency has not noticed a spike in applications from Flint since the water crisis, but attributed that to the fact that the program had been winding down as funds had been depleted.
But a February influx in new funds from the federal government has given the Step Forward program new life and reason to advertise.
Thelen is manager of transactions in the assets management division of MSHDA, a position in which he oversees the troubled properties section of the agency’s financed portfolio.
More information on the Step Forward program is available at StepForwardMichigan.org or at 866-946-7432.
EVM Editor Jan Worth-Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.