Fund to Help Hardest Hit Homeowners
Updated: Thursday, 08 Jul 2010, 6:49 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 07 Jul 2010, 4:23 PM EDT
By ROBIN SCHWARTZ
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – The state says help is on the way for Michigan’s hardest hit homeowners. $154-million in federal aid will save thousands of families from foreclosure. But there’s not enough money for everyone, and you have to act fast to apply.
You don’t have to look far to find a foreclosed home. They are in just about every neighborhood, but the state says about 17,000 Michigan homeowners will get help to prevent a padlock on the door. We’re one of five states getting an Obama administration Hardest Hit Fund.
The first big question is who qualifies?
“If you’re unemployed it will help to pay your mortgage payments while you are looking for a job. If you are somebody who has had a medical emergency, we want to be able to allow for us to cash you up on your mortgage so that you’re not put out,” said Governor Jennifer Granholm.
We caught up with Granholm at a Habitat for Humanity building project.
“There is help being offered. You got to take a positive step, and you’ve got to look to do something,” said Ken Gross, a financial crisis attorney in Bingham Farms.
He says there’s a big catch to all of this. Mortgage companies have to agree to sign up for the program. That will start to happen on Monday, July 12, but not all mortgage companies will participate. The state says people should keep checking their website at www.michigan.gov/hardesthit. You can also call 866-946-7432 for more information.
While the plan sounds good on paper, Gross is skeptical about how many people will receive help and how long it will take to get approved.
“My big question is are they going to be effective in the ability to process these applications and get people the help they need,” Gross said.
He says other recent government programs to help homeowners have resulted in an endless trail of paperwork and only a small fraction of people actually getting help.
Specific details on how to apply for the Hardest Hit Fund are still being finalized.