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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