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Michigan will soon be out of "Hardest Hit" funds for homeowners facing foreclosure

a house with a foreclosure sign in front of it
Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK
Michigan ranks 8th in the nation for foreclosures

Michigan's "Hardest Hit" program for homeowners is winding down.

Hardest Hit is the federal program to help people keep their homes after the Great Recession.

Mary Townley is vice president of Step Forward. That's the name of the state's Hardest Hit program.

She says Michigan has received $761 million from the federal government since late 2010.

A little more than half has gone to blight demolitions, and the rest to homeowners in distress.

There's now only $40 million left to help people who face foreclosure due to trouble paying mortgages or property taxes.

Townley says the state, with the help of counties, has aggressively marketed the program.  So it's hard to say why some eligible homeowners don't ask for help until it's too late.

"It could be they're too far down the process of foreclosure and we don't have enough time to stop it," says Townley. "Or some people truly believe if they ignore a problem it'll go away. It's sad to say but we see a lot of that."

Townley says in some cases, people who asked for help were deemed ineligible. That was the case, for example, for people who purchased their homes on a land contract. Only traditional mortgages were included in the Hardest Hit program.

Michigan faces a 2020 deadline to spend all the money. Townley says it will be gone long before then, and she doesn't anticipate any more funding from Washington.


Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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