Michigan's Hardest Hit Fund Program

Step Forward Michigan provides funds to help homeowners catch up on a delinquent mortgage, property taxes, or condominium fees.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of the Treasury created the Hardest Hit Fund to provide targeted aid to homeowners in those states most affected by the housing market crash. As part of this program, Michigan received over $498 million to provide assistance to struggling homeowners. While some other states' Hardest Hit Fund programs have stopped accepting applicants due to running out of funding, as of March 2019, assistance is still available in Michigan.

The program provides interest-free loans of up to $30,000 to assist with mortgage, property taxes, and condominium association fees. Read on to learn about the help available through Michigan’s Hardest Hit Fund program, called Step Forward Michigan, and find out if you might be eligible for assistance.

Step Forward Michigan

Step Forward Michigan provides money—up to $30,000—to help a homeowner catch up on a delinquent mortgage, property taxes, or condominium fees. Funds go directly to the lender, county treasurer, or condo association to reinstate the account, if an eligible hardship caused the delinquency.

Eligible hardships include:

  • a medical event
  • job loss or underemployment
  • occupying homeowner’s receipt of Michigan unemployment benefits
  • death
  • divorce, and
  • a one-time critical out-of-pocket expense, like household repairs

    How Step Forward Michigan Works

    Assistance is generally provided in the form of a 0% interest, forgivable loan secured by a junior lien that is recorded against the property. No payments are required from the homeowner and the loan is forgiven at 20% per year so long as the property remains your primary residence for five years. At the end of five years, the lien is released, which means you don't have to repay the loan.

    Borrower Eligibility

    To be eligible for Step Forward Michigan assistance, you must meet all of the below criteria.

    • You are a Michigan resident.
    • You own the property and occupy it as your primary residence.
    • You have limited cash reserves no greater than $10,000.
    • You have the ability to sustain ongoing payments.

      Home Eligibility Criteria

      Additionally, your existing mortgage and the property securing the mortgage must meet the below criteria, among other things.

      • The property is a single-family home, condominium, or a one-to four unit dwelling (if you occupy one unit as your primary residence).
      • The property is not abandoned, vacant, or condemned.
      • The property is not currently listed for sale.

      Mobile or manufactured homes are eligible if on a foundation, permanently affixed and taxed as real estate. Mobile homes located in a mobile/manufactured home park are not eligible. (Learn about what happens if you are struggling to pay your mobile home loan.)

      The eligibility requirements for Hardest Hit programs change frequently. For the latest information on whether you're eligible, go to www.StepForwardMichigan.org.

      How to Find Out if You're Eligible and Apply

      You can find out if you're eligible for assistance from the program by going to www.StepForwardMichigan.org, and click on "Do I qualify?" To apply for assistance, hit the “Apply Now” button after finding out whether you qualify.

      For More Information

      If you would like more information about Step Forward Michigan, you may call 866-946-7432 or email [email protected].

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