Money Available to Avoid Foreclosure
There is federal funding available to help homeowners stay in their homes and prevent foreclosure and loss of utilities.
The fund for Michigan, the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF), is being processed by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA).
How Much Can I Get?
Households can get up to $25,000. You can only get assistance one time per household.
Funds are given on a first-come, first-served basis within the program’s priority guidelines.
How Can the Money Be Used?
You must already be behind on payments to be eligible for MIHAF funds. Expenses that qualify for MIHAF funding are:
- Mortgage/housing loan payments (including escrows)
- Land contract and reverse mortgage payments
- Property taxes
- Condo/homeowners’ association fees
- Mobile home and/or lot payment assistance
- Homeowner’s insurance payments
- Gas, electric, water, and sewer payments
- Internet services payments
You can use the money for any past due payments even if they are from before the pandemic.
If you are approved for funding, it will go directly to the entity that is owed the money, such as the mortgage lender/servicer, land contract holder, or utility company.
Who Is Eligible for Help?
To be eligible for MIHAF funding, all of the following must be true:
- Had a Qualified Financial Hardship (described in the next section) on or after January 21, 2020. It is okay if the hardship started before January 21, 2020, as long as it continued after that date.
- Owned the home on or before January 21, 2020
- Currently own and live in the home as your primary residence
- Household income equal to or less than 150% of the area median income
If you have filed for bankruptcy, you may need to have permission from the bankruptcy trustee to participate in the MIHAF program. If you filed for bankruptcy and the case is already over, you may need to show proof that the case has ended. You can do this by getting court documents that show the case was dismissed or discharged.
What Is a Qualified Financial Hardship?
A Qualified Financial Hardship is a reduction in income or an increase in living expenses that is associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This hardship has to have created or increased your risk of falling behind in your mortgage payments, being in default, going into foreclosure, losing utility or home energy services, or having to move out of your house.
The reduction in income can be temporary or permanent, but it has to have happened on or after January 21, 2020. It is ok if it started before January 21, 2020, as long as it continued after that date.
Increased living expenses can include medical expenses, inadequate medical insurance, an increase in household size, or costs to reconnect utility service. These living expenses have to directly relate to the COVID-19 pandemic and must have happened on or after January 21, 2020. It is ok if it started before January 21, 2020, as long as it continued after that date.
What Types of Properties Are Eligible?
Not all types of property are eligible for MIHAF funding. Properties that are eligible are:
- Single-family homes
- Condo units
- 1-4 unit properties where the homeowner is living in one of the units as their primary residence
- Manufactured homes that are permanently attached to land and are taxable as real estate
- Mobile homes that are not permanently attached to land
Properties that are not eligible are:
- Vacant or abandoned properties or properties that have no houses on them
- Second homes (homes that are not primary residences)
- Investment properties
- 1-4 unit properties where the homeowner/landlord has received Emergency Rental Assistance Funds
How Can I Apply?
You can apply for MIHAF funding on the MIHAF MSHDA website.
In your application, you will need all of the following things:
- Proof of Identification
- Proof of Social Security Number
- Proof of Household Income
- Proof of that you are behind on payments
For a list of documents that you can use for each of these categories, review the MIHAF Acceptable Documentation List
Pausing or Lowering Mortgage Payments
During the COVID-19 pandemic, new options were created to help homeowners struggling to pay their mortgages and avoid foreclosure. If you cannot afford your mortgage payments, or have fallen behind, you may have options to pause or reduce your payments.
To learn more about your options, you can contact your mortgage servicer or a housing counselor.
Housing counselors are free. You should never pay a fee for help working with your lender. Use a counselor who is certified by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You can find HUD-certified housing counselors in Michigan on the Housing Counseling: Michigan page on HUD’s website.
Your mortgage servicer is the company where you send your mortgage payments. If you don’t know who your servicer is, you can check your monthly mortgage statement. For more information, you can review Help for Homeowners on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website.