Fighting Foreclosure

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email

The money isn't here yet but the Obama administration has set aside just over $150 million to help Michigan cope with its foreclosure crisis. The U.S. Treasury has a total of $1.5 billion that it's shelling out to the five states across the country that have been hit the hardest by foreclosure. Those states are California, Florida, Michigan, Arizona and Nevada.

The Michigan State Housing and Development Authority is a part of a task force with realtors, lenders and homeowner counseling agencies to detail how the funds will be distributed. The Obama administration has stipulated that states need to be creative in their plan and they need to target people who can realistically avoid foreclosure and potentially stay in their homes.

"In previous awards states have received the payments after foreclosure to help revitalize communities," said Mary Townley, the director of homeownership for the Michigan State Housing and Development Authority. "This is probably one of the first ones we've seen prior to foreclosure to actually keep families in their homes."

Those subsidies would help with mortgage payments but maintaining the payments is a big concern.

"We do have certain sectors of the population that's in crisis," said the Natan Espinosa, the president of the Greater Lansing Association of Realtors. "Those that are unemployed and those that are underemployed and that's affecting mortgage payments."

Realtors admit that the foreclosure crisis is real. There are many who are struggling to make payments and facing declining property values. The harsh reality is not everyone who needs the help will be able to get it.

"Of course there are going to be folks who aren't going to meet our critera or be there on time however the intent of Michigan and MSHDA is to help as many people as we can," said Espinosa.

But facing foreclosure is usually just the tip of the iceberg for some homeowners.

"A lot of them are not only missing the house payment but also missing the car payment so it's a cycle," said Espinosa.

The commitment to get the money is already here it's just a question now of how the money will be used and how many people will benefit.

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  • by Joyce Location: East Lansing on Mar 29, 2010 at 02:28 PM
    If anyone knows anything more about the federal aid to homeowners, please pass it on. I'm about there. It would be misusing the intent of the law if the state or cities use the money for "research or counseling" just to supplement funds. Also, how can you justify giving someone's home to the "homeless" when the homeowner has just become "homeless" and has been paying for years?
  • by Anonymous on Mar 16, 2010 at 05:25 AM
    The story is saying that the State of Michigan is working on a plan. How much time do they need?
  • by Julie Location: H on Mar 16, 2010 at 03:57 AM
    same here I just got my assessment and this is my 2nd year living in my first home I purchased in 2008 and I am upside down already in my mortgage. the value of my home is 3500 less than what my mortgage is and Im sure its not going to turn around anytime soon OH and my taxes only dropped 53 bucks. talk about being raped! Im seriously considering bankruptcy and starting over in a different state. Michigan sucks bigtime thanks Jenny
  • by Anonymous Location: Jackson on Mar 15, 2010 at 09:17 PM
    Gary, I know what you mean. My home is assessed at $80,000 more than what it is worth. I also appealed mine and am waiting to hear the results. I will not be able to keep my home if my taxes are not lowered, but the tax man doesn't care about that!
  • by Gary Location: Dimondale on Mar 15, 2010 at 03:12 PM
    The government talks a good game when it comes to helping homeowners, but if they really want to help them they could assess the properties better. I just went to appeal mine this year because they were $23,000 higher than the assessment I just paid for when I did a refi. The local tax authorities have no desire to tax folks at the correct rate. This money is their meal ticket. I am still waiting on their answer, but I am guessing that they will not budge without a fight. Face it, there is a real problem in this state and it's not just here in mid-michigan. I have read stories about houses in Detroit that are selling for $15K and yet are being taxed as if they were worth 20 times that. PROPERTY TAXES ARE A TERRIBLE WAY TO PAY FOR THINGS AS THEY ARE A MEASURE OF PAST PERFORMANCE AND NOT CURRENT CONDITIONS. I have my house for sale right now for less than what I say the house is worth. I had it on the market for 6 months and the closest offer and only offer I had was for 30K less
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