Flint, MI — The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) is making a last push to support Flint residents with homeownership-related expenses as funding for a federally-backed homeowner assistance program comes to an end.

The program, called Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF), was launched in February 2022 after the state received over $240 million for its creation through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 

It’s meant to assist COVID-impacted residents with delinquent mortgage, property tax and condominium payments as well as past due utilities payments — including gas, water, electric and internet — among some other homeowner-related expenses.

Since launching, MIHAF has received over 48,000 applications, roughly 25,400 of which have been approved or conditionally approved, and dolled out more than $191.3 million in support. 

“We’re happy to report on that,” said Dawn Hengesbach, the project lead for MIHAF. But, she added, “right now it’s a critical point in the program because funds are running out.”

Hengesbach said MIHAF has a little over $10 million left to award, and she anticipates that money will be gone by December 2023.

“So … I’m glad to … get the word out to homeowners that we are here to help if they’ve experienced any kind of hardships in any of those areas — mortgage payments, taxes, utilities, condo fees. We can help.”

Hengesbach said Flint homeowners who may already receive support through other programs like the Water Residential Assistance Program (WRAP) are still eligible for MIHAF funds, and residents don’t need to have had COVID themselves to receive assistance.

“They could have had kids home from school. They could have helped to care for a family member that had COVID,” she said. “They just have to attest to that COVID hardship and how it impacted them, and we can start processing applications.”

Aside from COVID hardship attestation, the application process also asks for proof of delinquencies, such as a current mortgage statement or property tax bill. 

The maximum possible support through MIHAF, per household, is $25,000, with the average assistance landing at $7,640 according to the program’s tracking dashboard.

While MIHAF funds may help cover delinquent home insurance payments, they do not cover home repairs.

To access the MIHAF application portal, interested Flint residents can click here. Hengesbach said eligible residents can expect a two to three-week turnaround time for funding.

Kate is Flint Beat's associate editor. She joined the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues....

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