Macomb County ensuring strong communities 2017-18

MSU Extension’s partnership with the Macomb County Treasurer’s office successfully helped 43 homeowners receive Step Forward funds providing financial assistance to catch up on property taxes, enabling them to stay in their homes.

When you support MSU Extension, participants learn how to implement best practices in good governance that keeps communities solvent, productive and engaged; learn effective conflict management skills that help leaders and residents work collaboratively on complex issues; and engage youth leaders in decision-making. In the personal finance area, MSU Extension helps youth and adults alike learn the skills they need to increase their savings, manage their spending, avoid predatory lending and reduce mortgage defaults. All of these outcomes help lower the cost of governmental services and lead to personal and community stability, strong neighborhoods and safe communities.

Homeownership Counseling and Education

Homeownership Education workshops helps participants understand the home buying process. Topics include: advantages of homeownership, steps in the home buying process, understanding the cost of homeownership, understanding credit and debt management, and shopping for a home and obtaining a mortgage loan. In 2017, MSU Extension reached 213 Macomb residents through their workshops.

Foreclosure Prevention

MSU Extension’s Foreclosure Prevention program has had an important partnership with the Macomb County Treasurer’s Office for several years and in 2017 continued their work of helping homeowners save their home and become more financially stable. Through one-on-one counseling appointments, MSU extension educators met with 152 homeowners who were either three years behind on their property taxes or experiencing mortgage default. As a result, homeowners entered repayment plan agreements with the Treasurer, were approved for modifications with their mortgage lender, and learned how to budget during a financial crisis.

One of the Foreclosure Prevention programs biggest achievements over the last five years has been helping homeowners apply for the Step Forward Michigan program which offers a forgivable loan to homeowners that qualify. In 2017 alone, MSU Extension helped 43 homeowners successfully receive the financial assistance that caught them up on all three years of property taxes. This totaled $322,065 in tax dollars returning to Macomb County ($1.6M since the program started in 2013).

MSU Extension’s foreclosure hotline is also an important resource for distressed homeowners in Macomb County who aren’t sure what help is available. In 2017, MSU Extension talked with 282 people via phone and provided education on foreclosure prevention options and what steps they can take. Often, a homeowner needs to speak with someone urgently about their housing situation, so having a person just a phone call away is an important service.

Money Management

MSU Extension provided several money management seminars in Macomb County during 2017. These three-week sessions focused on helping consumers gain confidence and skills related to their personal finances. Participants attend these classes to understand their money values and how to communicate about money, write SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) goals, manage debt and improve credit, and create savings plans. Since 2015, MSU Extension has partnered with Macomb Community Action to provide financial coaching to their clients in the emergency assistance program. The goal is to help clients learn to budget their money so that they can avoid the inability to make rent and/or utility payments in the future. In addition to the aforementioned partnership with Macomb Community Action, MSU Extension also partnered with the City of Warren to provide pre-purchase and pre-closing counseling to their clients participating in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). The goal was to help clients understand all costs associated with homeownership and how to budget for those expenses. This partnership also included working with the City of Warren’s Drug Court to provide workshops for the participants in The Treatment Court program. Participation figures for money management programs included, but were not limited to:

  • Money Management workshop participants – 33
  • Macomb Community Action Financial Coaching participants – 4
  • City of Warren’s Drug Court participants – 26
  • One-time Money Management participants - 152

Career Education, Workforce Preparation, Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship

In 2017, approximately 700 participants were involved in workforce preparation, in-depth career education, and financial skill-building in Macomb County. Programming took place in partnership with many schools and organizations including Junior Leadership Macomb, Military After School Program, Mt. Clemens Community Coalition, Arts Academy in the Woods, Academy 21 of Center Line, TCB Mentoring, Roseville High School Mentoring Program, Max Thompson Family Resource Center, and 4-H Counselor In Training program. With funding from Chemical Bank, there was a strong focus on financial literacy education.

Programming for 4-H in the area of career education and workforce preparation is focused to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Young people will have the knowledge needed to choose appropriate post-secondary workforce training, entrepreneurial or career endeavors. 
  • Youth will be better prepared to make wise economic choices in their personal and work lives.

Youth practiced their interview skills, created resumes, and discussed professionalism in the workplace. Financial literacy looked at savings, needs and wants, credit and debt, investing, and budgeting.

  • 84% of Macomb County youth participants surveyed said they plan to practice self-control when making
  • 94% of Macomb County youth participants surveyed said they now have skills to successfully manage their
  • 77% of Macomb County youth participants surveyed said they plan to track the money they earn and the money
    they spend.
  • 52% of Macomb County youth participants surveyed ALWAYS plan to save a portion of the money they earn
    and are given ("pay myself first").

New Citizen Planner Program Partnership

MSU Extension held the first partnership program with County Planning & Economic Development Department (PED). PED requested funding in their county budget to provide one scholarship per Macomb County community to assist in educating local officials and staff on basic land use issues and techniques.

Twenty-eight participants from thirteen Macomb communities participated in the scholarship program with three sending more than one local official to the training. In addition, one county staff person attended the program, three Extension Council members and the entire planning commission from a Wayne County community attended.

In addition to the seven core sessions, MSU Extension offered an eighth session covering the resources counties have available to assist communities with planning and zoning efforts.

Form Based Codes: Building Character by Design

Based on requests from Citizen Planner participants, MSU Extension organized Form-Based Codes: Building Character by Design, a two-part program on form-based codes (FBC) to provide more in-depth information on this topic. A form-based code is a land development regulation that fosters predictable built results and a high-quality public realm by using physical form (rather than separation of uses) as the organizing principle for the code. A form-based code is a regulation, not a mere guideline, adopted into city, town, or county law.

Form-Based Codes: Building Character by Design provided more in depth information. The first session was a presentation and discussion of principles, examples and outcomes of using FBCs in communities. The second session focused on an in- depth group activity to allow participants to apply FBC principles to a specific community issue or in a scenario provided.

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