Unemployed? Underemployed? Underwater? Step Forward Michigan may be able to help you
Step Forward Michigan assistance is still available through Help for the Hardest Hit funds up to $30,000 to keep your home if you qualify.
Step Forward Michigan guidelines have recently changed. Now, the Unemployment Mortgage Subsidy Program and the Loan Modification Program will mean that some homeowners may be eligible for assistance. Funds for the Loan Rescue Program and Principal Curtailment Program have all been used and are no longer available.
Michigan’s Hardest Hit Fund program, also known as Step Forward Michigan, is a federally funded loan program designed to help eligible homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage, condo association fees, and/or property taxes to retain ownership of their primary residence.
Up to $30,000 can assist homeowners through the Unemployment Mortgage Subsidy Program if they meet one of the following requirements:
- currently receiving unemployment benefits from Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA)
- Recently exhausted their UIA unemployment benefits any time in the last 12 months.
- Can document a 20 percent or greater reduction in gross household income.
This program may provide a 50 percent monthly subsidy toward the homeowner’s first lien mortgage payment, up to $1000 per month, for up to a year by Step Forward Michigan.
Changes to the Loan modification Program now allow for homeowners to be further underwater or upside down on their mortgage, greater than 115 percent loan to value ratio, and be able to qualify for up to $30,000 to bring a mortgage current and establish a lower sustainable payment. Another qualification possibility is if the mortgage payment is unsustainable, greater than 45 percent payment to income ratio caused by an involuntary hardship.
Recently, the Federal Home Loan Bank sent 30,000 letters to distressed Michigan homeowners whose loans are owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae about Making Home Affordable mortgage loan modifications, refinance or assistance programs. If you received one of these letters, you are encouraged to understand your options. Michigan State University Extension housing counselors work with homeowners struggling with their mortgage or household property taxes, to help them determine if they qualify and apply to receive assistance that could keep them in their homes. During the past five years, thousands of Michigan homeowners who worked with our counselors have received assistance to save their homes from foreclosure.
Many homeowners had received property tax assistance through the Loan Rescue Program for involuntary hardships such as medical bills, divorce or death of spouse. A big change with the new guidelines is the homeowner must now qualify for one of the other two programs to receive assistance.
For further information or to see if you qualify for assistance you can go to StepForwardMichigan.org for a list of frequently asked questions and access an online application and a list of documents that are required to submit an application.
For further assistance in submitting an application to Step Forward Michigan, you may contact your local MSU Extension office with a housing counselor or find a housing counselor through MSHDA.