MARQUETTE - Officials with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority are in the Upper Peninsula touting three programs they say can help many homeowners facing foreclosure in the U.P.
The goal of the programs - the unemployment mortgage subsidy program, the mortgage loan rescue program and the principal curtailment program - is to assist homeowners that are either unemployed or under-employed.
The unemployment mortgage subsidy program provides monthly mortgage payments assistance while borrowers are drawing unemployment compensation. The loan rescue program assists households that have fallen behind on their mortgage and need help catching up. The principal curtailment program helps homeowners who are in unsustainable mortgages and who have recently re-entered the job market at a reduced income level.
Mary Townley, director of MSHDA's home ownership division, said the organization recently launched an online application for the programs that's made the whole process significantly more efficient.
"A homeowner can ... apply directly online and when they hit the submit button that request comes directly to our staff at MSHDA. We work with the homeowner, gather their pertinent personal information and then we reach out to their servicer," she said.
The application process takes about 30 to 35 minute she said. MSHDA staff can also follow a homeowner's progress through the application process and if they get stuck, a MSHDA representative will either call or email that homeowner with assistance.
There is eligibility criteria that must be met to qualify for the programs, Townley said. That criteria and other information on the programs can be found on StepForwardMichigan.org or by calling 1-800-382-4568.
She said those who do not meet the criteria are directed toward other assistance agencies, such as home ownership counselors.
"Foreclosure is a significant event in a family. It not only effects the parents, it affects the children, it affects the community," she said.
By providing assistance to homeowners struggling with mortgages, Townley said MSHDA is helping to stabilize property values in communities across the state.
Funds for the programs come from Michigan's allocation of $498.6 million as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, administered by the U.S. Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development.
James Tischler, director of MSHDA's community development division, said MSHDA officials were also in the area to promote Gov. Rick Snyder's goals for the state, including support for job creation and integration and cooperation between governmental agencies and municipalities.
Another goal of the state government is to work with communities and help them understand and engage in place-making.
He said a good example of place-making is the Marquette Commons.
"(The commons) represents a physical place, it represents a social gathering place, it represents an economic generator of activity within the downtown," he said. "And it also represents, I would say, a psychological linkage to place. As that project has been developed and the community has embraced it, endorsed it, the ties have started to be made as to how that relates to the community and the downtown as well."
Christopher Diem can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org