The Michigan Step Forward Program provides governmental assistance to Michigan residents, based upon financial need, in order to help with the payment of condominium assessments, mortgage payments and property taxes. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the State of Emergency declared in Michigan, the program has received an increased volume of applications as roughly 1 in 10 Michiganders have filed for unemployment since March 8, 2020.
On April 3, 2020, Hirzel Law, PLC contacted the Michigan Step Forward Program regarding the continuation of the program and received the following response:
Yes, are still open and still taking applications. Applications are being processed a bit slower due to the volume received and we do believe we have enough funding for most of the year until sometime in the fall.
We have not heard anything about whether or not we will receive additional federal funding to continue beyond our expected shut down at this time.
Given that the Michigan Step Forward Program may run out of funds later this year, it is important that Michigan condominium associations are proactive about participating in this program. Hirzel Law, PLC is recommending that all Michigan condominium associations complete the necessary application to participate in the Michigan Step Forward Program. We can assist your condominium association in preparing its application for a flat fee. We are also encouraging condominium associations to inform their co-owners of the Michigan Step Forward Program in the event that a delinquent co-owner needs help with paying their condominium assessments. This program is a great tool for condominium associations to collect delinquent assessments and maintain essential services during the coronavirus pandemic.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Michigan Step Forward Program and how did it come about?
Congress passed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA) or Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to help people that were severely impacted by the housing crisis. In 2010 the federal government created the Hardest Hit Fund to provide money to states to assist people with the payment of condominium assessments, mortgage payments and property taxes. The program was initially started with $1.5 billion dollars in 5 states and was later expanded to a $9.6 billion dollar initiative in 18 states and the District of Columbia. The Michigan Step Forward Program was created with TARP funds and has received $761 million dollars since it was created. However, Congress will need to provide additional funding in the future in order for the program to continue.
- What is the maximum loan amount and can it be forgiven?
The Michigan Step Forward can provide a $30,000 interest free loan. The loan may be forgiven in the amount of 20% of the loan for each year, as long as the property remains the homeowner’s primary residence. Accordingly, after 5 years, the loan may be completely forgiven.
- What are the requirements to apply?
- An applicant must be able a Michigan resident that has an ownership interest in the property that is occupied as their primary residence.
- The applicant must have suffered an involved hardship event, such as a medial event, job loss or underemployment, death or divorce, and have cash reserves less than $10,000 (not including retirement accounts).
- After the delinquency is resolved, you must be able to maintain your housing payments moving forward. The program indicates that your monthly housing expenses must be less than or equal to 45% of your gross household income.
- An applicant must not have been convicted of a financial related felony within the last 10 years.
- Does a condominium association need to do anything?
Yes, a condominium association must be on the program’s approved list in order for a co-owner to participate. The attorney’s at Hirzel Law, PLC have experience in completing these applications and gathering the necessary information to apply.
Click here to learn more about the Michigan Step Forward Program.
Kevin Hirzel is the Managing Member of Hirzel Law, PLC and concentrates his practice on commercial litigation, community association law, condominium law, Fair Housing Act compliance, homeowners association and real estate law. Mr. Hirzel is a fellow in the College of Community Association Lawyers, a prestigious designation given to less than 175 attorneys in the country. He has been a Michigan Super Lawyer’s Rising Star in Real Estate Law from 2013-2019, an award given to only 2.5% of the attorneys in Michigan each year. Mr. Hirzel has been named a Leading Lawyer in Condominium & HOA law by Leading Lawyers Magazine in 2018 and 2019, an award given to less than 5% of the attorneys in Michigan each year. He represents community associations, condominium associations, cooperatives, homeowners associations, property owners and property managers throughout Michigan. He may be reached at (248) 478-1800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.