Major Lenders Join Program to help Homeowners

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email

There were almost 200 forclosures in Ingham County in the last month, but county officials says overall forclosures are declining in the area.

"Foreclosures are down 5 percent from this time last year. The trend is going down which looks good. With that said, March was a tough month," said Curtis Hertel, the Ingham County Register of Deeds.

The federal government has stepped in providing money to help 18 states including Michigan prevent forclosures. People who qualify for the hardest hit homeowners program must be earning less than when they bought their home, have fallen delinquent on a mortgage payment, or are receiving unemployment.

"We created programs that we thought would best benefit homeowners," said Mary Townley, the director of homeownership for Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).

Now that an application is available online, large lenders like Bank of America, Citi Bank, and PNC Bank have signed up. Something housing counselors say their clients have been waiting for.

"I called a client and told her the lender is on board. She was ecstatic. She's been waiting for this. This is her last hope," said Bette Brown, a local housing counselor.

Housing counselors say for some of their clients the help comes too late as people on unemployment have waited for their lenders to sign up.

"The lenders just got on board. Many people's unemployment ran out. They have to be drawing unemployment to qualify," said Brown.

But with the new online option and most lenders committed, MSHDA plans to help more than 50 thousand Michiganders with their house payments before the federal money runs out.

"In the next 2.5 to 3 year period will go through the funds," said Townley.

MSHDA encourages struggling homeowners to go online and join the more than one thousand people who have already started the process.

To learn more about the program, and to see if you qualify--go to https://www.stepforwardmichigan.org/


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