First Time Michigan Homeowners to Receive Interest Free Loans to Help Stay in Their Homes

MoneySome Michigan homeowners are in trouble, but the state government is looking to help.

Back in 2016, nationwide first-time home buyers made up 35% of all home buyers, with 66% of buyers 36 years and younger being first-time home buyers. Nationwide, there have been a lot of incentives to get young Millennials to finally enter the housing market, but many people are finding themselves in financial hardship trying to maintain a home. So, instead of having them face foreclosure, Michigan has created a program to help.

Michigan’s Step Forward Program will provide interest-free loans to help get homeowners back on their feet. This program has been funded by the federal government and implemented by the Michigan Homeownership Division of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

If it’s successful, the program will help local homeowners avoid foreclosure and eviction. Michigan wants to help keep families in their homes, and so far it has been exceptionally successful. For example, since 2010 the program has given more than $309 million in interest-free loans to almost 35,000 Michigan families. And the money isn’t going anywhere soon, as there is currently about $40 million still available for new loans.

While the loans can be used to pay back a variety of different mortgages and debts, there are a lot of different requirements in order to qualify. Some requirements include having less than $10,000 in household bank accounts — not including retirement accounts — a recent job loss, medical event, death, or divorce.

Homeowners who recently experienced a one-time critical housing repair may also qualify for the program. This clause may be especially important to those with a septic system in their home. Considering the fact that one-fourth of all homes in the United States have septic systems, a lot of homes may be affected by the introduction of a specific bill pending in the Michigan House of Representatives.

As of right now, homeowners can sue their local government if their home suffers from catastrophic sewer damage due to large rainfalls or flooding. However, this bill will make it so that local governments are immune from any and all lawsuits.

While homeowners would not be able to sue for damages if this bill passes, they could get relief from the Step Forward Program. But it is also important to note that those with too many “frivolous expenses,” such as pool maintenance, will not qualify for any assistance. So despite the fact that over 21 million U.S. households own a pool or hot tub, pool maintenance is not deemed a necessary expense under this emergency relief program.

What’s more, if the homeowner stays in the same home and stays up to date on their mortgage for five years after receiving the loan, they will not have to pay it back at all.

To learn more about these interest free loans, contact the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

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