LANSING — The state’s housing authority has launched a new program to help homeowners experiencing pandemic-related financial hardships get current on housing expenses and avoid foreclosure.
The Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF) is expected to help more than 8,300 homeowners stay in their homes by giving them direct financial assistance.
The program can help with delinquent mortgage, property tax and/or condominium payments, payment of escrow shortages and past due utilities payments, including gas, water, electric and Internet or broadband.
Assistance can also be used towards homeowner’s insurances, hazard, flood or mortgage insurance (if not escrowed) and land contract payments.
Applicants must have experienced a qualified financial hardship due to the pandemic after Jan. 21, 2020 or had a qualified hardship that began before Jan 21, 2020, but continued after that date.
They also need to meet income eligibility requirements and the property must be owner-occupied. The maximum amount of assistance available through the MIHAF per household is $25,000. Financial assistance from the program will be paid directly to the lender, the state says.
Qualified applicants must be able to show a real reduction in income or increase in living expenses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic that has increased a risk in mortgage delinquency, mortgage default, foreclosure, loss of utilities or home energy services, or displacement for a homeowner:
- Proof of a temporary or permanent loss of earned income on or after January 21, 2020; or
- Proof to an increase in living expenses, such as medical expenses, inadequate medical insurance, increase in household size or costs to reconnect utility services on or after January 21, 2020
Those interested in applying for financial assistance through the MIHAF can visit the Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s (MSHDA) online application portal at Michigan.gov/MIHAF or call 844-756-4423 for additional information and assistance in the application process.
The money for the program comes from the American Rescue Plan Act last year. A total of $242,812,277 was allocated to Michigan to fund the MIHAF program by the U.S. Treasury, which MSHDA anticipates will help more than 8,300 homeowners across the state.
The state legislature allocated the federal funds and the remaining approximately $121 million must be approved at a later date.
“Homeowners have not been immune to the financial impacts of the pandemic,” said Governor Whitmer. “We’ve taken action through the pandemic to keep families in their homes and with the MIHAF program, we can build on our efforts to put Michiganders first. The program offers homeowners much-needed relief to help them overcome those financial obstacles while also providing a strong degree of housing security – a vital measure that can positively impact every part of our lives.”