Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Michigan's Federal Funds

There is so much federal money circulating around the state that many are unaware of how it is being spent. There are a few housing programs that this federal money is being spent on all over the state.

The state offers many programs to lower income households. The Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) is a federally funded program, administered by the MSHDA that provides money to help eligible low income households pay their rent. If you qualify and are accepted as a participant, the amount you personally pay for rent and utilities may vary, but generally your portion will not exceed 40 percent of your income.

Michigan's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a federally-funded, low-income residential energy conservation program. The program provides free home energy conservation services to low-income Michigan homeowners and renters. These services reduce energy use and lower utility bills, thus creating more self-sufficient households.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) is created from Title III of Division B of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. States, cities, and counties will receive a total of $3.92 billion to acquire, rehabilitate, demolish, and redevelop foreclosed and abandoned residential properties. Funds were allocated to states and local governments under a formula developed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

In Grand Rapids the offer the Housing Rehabilitation Program by the Housing Rehabilitation Division. This program offers affordable loans for home repairs. The Program also offers assistance to qualified homeowners that includes the following: Help determining what repairs are needed and how the work should be done with priority given to exterior Housing Code orders. The program aids in emergency repairs and environmental issues (lead paint), as well as help selecting a contractor and getting a fair price, and help to ensure the repairs are complete and of good quality.

Grand Rapids also offers the Rental Rehabilitation Program through the Community Development Department by the Housing Rehabilitation Division. The Program offers assistance to Landlords to make substantial improvements to their rental properties. This program including Housing Code required repairs on the interior and exterior, environmental hazards including asbestos and lead based paint. The program also offers energy and water efficiency improvements, alterations to improve accessibility in the units, and livability and "rentability" improvements.

Also beginning July 5, 2009, Michigan Law requires all lenders to work with homeowners to avoid foreclosure.
If you have missed one or more payments, follow the steps below:
1. Open all mail from your lender. You will receive a notice in the mail stating your RIGHT to work with your lender and a housing counselor.
2. Call a certified, non-profit housing counselor or your local legal aid office as soon as you receive the notice. You will have 14 days from the date the notice was mailed to contact a housing counselor or your local legal aid office: ALL homeowners will receive free help, regardless of income level. Agencies providing assistance in the state includes: State of Michigan Save the Dream, HOPE Hotline, United Way, MI Foreclosure Prevention Project
3. Once you’ve contacted a housing counselor, you will have 90 days to work with your lender to work out an agreement on your loan. (The law determines eligibility. There will be homeowners who are not eligible for a modification under the law because they just don't have enough income.)

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