Some may qualify to have taxes paid through Step Forward Michigan program
By Mary Drier
TUSCOLA COUNTY — Some Thumb area residents who are struggling with paying their property tax, may be able to qualify to have their taxes paid up for them.
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) implemented a special past-due property tax assistance program, “Step Forward Michigan” Tuesday in counties that want to participate for residents who qualify.
“The (county) treasurer in Tuscola County agreed to participate in the Step Forward Michigan program,” said Human Development Housing Coordinator Mindy Kelley. “In Huron and Sanilac counties, the program is in the works of being approved.”
The Step Forward program will pay a maximum of $30,000 per household in back taxes.
“It’s a zero-interest, forgivable loan. It doesn’t have to be paid back as long as the homeowner is living in that home,” said Kelly. “The amount of money that’s provided to help is written off at 20 percent each year. After so many years, the total amount is written off and forgiven.”
The money spend in paying up back taxes is collected when the property is sold.
The Step Forward Michigan is taking applications on-line to assist homeowners located in a participating county using the loan rescue program.
“HDC can help homeowners with the filing the application for the program,” said Kelley. “It’s a wonderful program, and so badly needed. It’s a great help to families that are struggling, and especially to seniors who are on a fixed income.
“It’s available on a first-come, first-serve basis.”
For those who are determined to be eligible for the program, a one-time payment is sent directly to the county treasurer to pay toward outstanding county and local property taxes.
The program is open those who are behind on their property taxes, who had a hardship that caused them to fall behind, and to those who have a house mortgage.
“Those who are buying a home on a land contract don’t qualify,” said Kelley.
For more information or help, call HDC at 1-800-843-6394 and ask about the Step Forward Program.
Homeowners can find additional information about the programs and apply on-line at stepforwardmichigan.org.
The Michigan Homeowner Assistance Nonprofit Housing Corporation (MHA), operating under the name Step Forward Michigan, was created in 2010 by MSHDA to oversee the distribution of the Hardest Hit Funds in Michigan.
In addition, MSHDA also provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.
MSHDA’s loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mshda.
Mary Drier is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.