Stats show that foreclosure counseling can help you keep your home

Distressed homeowners counseled by Michigan State University Extension in Ionia County received $1.4 Million in assistance to keep 275 homes during the past five years.

Michigan is feeling the impact of the foreclosure crisis, and that includes Ionia and adjacent counties. Distressed homeowners counseled by Michigan State University Extension in Ionia County received $1.4 Million in assistance to keep 275 homes during the past five years.

Montcalm County was hit hard after several manufacturing plants closed since 2006 and unemployment rose to 17.7 percent in 2009. Ionia and Montcalm Counties were rated in the top five among Michigan’s 83 counties with high foreclosure rates from 2009 to 2013, when, during that time, one in thirty housing units received a foreclosure notice, according to the New York Federal Reserve. This is twice the national average, based on a 2012 RealtyTrac report. Foreclosures are still above pre-recessionary levels.

Since 2009, 503 households attended mortgage and tax foreclosure education and intervention appointments and received services, according to MSU Extension data in the Ionia County office. Follow-up contact identified housing outcomes for 400 of those households:

  • Sixty-nine percent successfully kept their homes.
  • Seventy seven households received $472,418 from lenders for loan modifications to bring them current and modify their loan to a sustainable mortgage payment.
  • One hundred and two households received $634,929 from Step Forward Michigan for mortgage assistance.
  • Ionia and Montcalm County Treasurer Offices received $218,834 in property tax assistance from Step Forward Michigan for 67 delinquent homeowners. The funds added revenue to the county as well as brought these homeowners current on their property taxes due and allowed them to keep their homes.
  • Twenty percent foreclosed, with education about their homeowner and lender rights and responsibilities, plus an action plan to prepare their next steps.

This local data supports Vivian Washington’s news article about MSU Extension housing programs. Foreclosure education and counseling has been proven to reduce mortgage defaults, increase the likelihood of troubled borrowers seeking foreclosure prevention assistance, as well as increase credit scores. Foreclosure has dire social and economic side effects on communities, including increased crime, abandoned housing, declines in neighborhood property values and increased cost of city services. These local funds contribute to long-term impact outcomes to keep families and communities stable.

Current homeowners who are concerned about or have fallen behind on their mortgage and/or property tax payments and are facing foreclosure can call with questions or schedule an appointment. The goal is to assess their situation and options, determine if they might qualify for assistance to keep their home, and educate about the foreclosure timeline. Counselors also assist with lender communication and submitting complete application requests.

Michigan State University Extension is a HUD-approved housing counseling agency has many MSHDA certified housing counselors at multiple county offices to assist you by phone or through technology. Find the one staff person nearest you at MSHDA-certified housing counselors may be located using

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