The Michigan State Housing Development Authority has announced a new effort to help homeowners avoid foreclosure with its tax delinquency relief program. The MSHDA hopes that this effort will reach homeowners suffering from inability to make payments, ease mortgage debt, and hopefully prevent the number of foreclosures from rising.
Easing Mortgage Debt First Priority
The program, dubbed “A Step Forward Michigan Loan Rescue Program,” offers homeowners up to $30,000 to pay toward delinquent taxes and mortgage debt, condominium dues, and fees. The funds designated for the program are available for the next 12-18 months, and come from the federal housing relief program of 2010 in which Michigan received nearly $500 million.
Part of what makes the outreach for the program unique is its focus on disbursement through churches and religious organizations. According to the experts in charge of the program, people often turn to their local religious leaders for guidance in tough financial times, so putting the disbursement in their hands seemed like a logical choice. Often, the religious leader is seen as more generous and more respected within the community than a lender or even a bank, and therefore they may be more willing to accept funds from these leaders without fear that they are falling prey to a kind of scam.
Foreclosure is on the downswing in much of Michigan, but mortgage debt is still high and foreclosure remains a front-burner issue. Partly due to the relief program from the MSHDA and other programs, experts project foreclosure rates will be down by one-third in this year.