In early 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law. This law created a Homeowner Assistance Fund, a federal program, to give $10 billion to the states to help households that are behind on their mortgages and other housing expenses due to COVID-19.
Eligible homeowners in Michigan who've experienced a financial hardship because of the pandemic can get a piece of the approximately $242 million allocated to the state—up to $25,000 per household—from the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF) program. This program uses federal money to help homeowners make mortgage payments and pay other home-related costs.
The MIHAF program offers funds to pay the following kinds of housing costs for eligible homeowners:
To qualify for relief from this program, you must have suffered a financial hardship (a material reduction in income or an increase in living expenses) after January 21, 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic. A coronavirus pandemic financial hardship that began before January 21, 2020, but continued after that date qualifies. In addition, you have to meet some other guidelines:
Assistance from the MIHAF program is prioritized for households with incomes equal to or less than 100% of AMI and those identified as socially disadvantaged individuals, such as those that have been the victim of racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias.
Assistance is structured as a grant that you don't have to repay. Only in cases of fraud or wrongful misrepresentation would an applicant have to repay the funds. Payments go directly to the loan servicer or other eligible third party, not to homeowners.
To apply for help from this program, go to the MIHAF website. You'll have to provide some documentation with your application, like mortgage statements or statements for your other housing-related costs, proof of income (such as pay stubs and tax returns), and a government-issued ID (like a driver's license). Click here to get a complete list of the documents you'll need.
You can also watch videos about starting your application and how to complete it, as well as get the status of your application on the website.
If you get an unsolicited offer by phone, in the U.S. mail, through email, or by text message offering mortgage relief or foreclosure rescue services, be wary. Scammers are increasingly targeting homeowners who've been affected by COVID-19. The MIHAF program is free. If anyone asks you to pay a fee to get housing counseling or foreclosure prevention services from this program, it's a scam.
If you have questions or need more information, call 844-756-4423, email MSHDA-HO-HAF-Program@michigan.gov, or review the MIHAF program FAQs or Term Sheet. If you need help with your application, contact a HUD-approved housing counselor who will assist you at no cost. To find a counselor near you, go to HUD's website or view this list from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
Effective date: February 14, 2022