Working to Keep Michigan Families in their Homes


August 2, 2020 -

Priority Areas

Members of MSU Extension’s Financial and Homeownership Education Team deliver free foreclosure prevention counseling services directly to Michigan residents. The housing counselors are certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and provide free and unbiased information about the foreclosure process, options and resources to prevent foreclosure, and strategies to regain housing stability.

7 FHE counselors assisted clients in 19 Michigan counties to resolve mortgage and property tax delinquency issues.

555 participants received foreclosure prevention triage and intake services either by phone or in person.

261 participants from 213 households met with an MSU Extension housing counselor for mortgage or property tax counseling.



Of the 213 households who received counseling from an MSU Extension housing counselor:

52 brought their mortgage or property taxes current Step Forward Michigan loan rescue funds.

1 filed bankruptcy to prevent foreclosure.

4 entered forbearance agreements with their mortgage companies.

10 were able to modify their mortgages to set up affordable payments.

"I would like to thank you for everything you did. I am so glad there are great people like all of you."

48% (103 households) are still actively working with MSU Extension counselors to resolve their housing issues.

9% (18 households) have  withdrawn from counseling.

1% (2 households) sold their homes before a foreclosure sale.

2% (4 households) experienced foreclosure.

9% (19 households) were counseled and referred to other professionals (including social service and legal advisors) for further assistance.



One Michigan homeowner was referred to MSU Extension housing counselor Teagen Lefere by a local mortgage loan servicer because the mortgage was five months delinquent. The homeowner was out of work after a debilitating back injury and had a Social Security disability hearing scheduled for four months later. In the interim, the homeowner only had monthly food assistance and $400 in cash assistance to live on.
While reviewing the homeowner’s financial status, Lefere helped facilitate communication with the loan servicer, which agreed to offer a six-month forbearance. This allowed the homeowner to keep the home and not have to make any payments while waiting for the hearing.

Eventually the homeowner was approved for Social Security disability assistance. When the forbearance period ended, the loan servicer agreed to move the delinquent balance to the end of the mortgage term. With Lefere’s help, the homeowner successfully prevented foreclosure and is once again making mortgage payments on time.



Brenda Long, MSU Extension senior educator and housing counselor, was contacted by a disabled Vietnam veteran whose bank account had been depleted by extensive car repairs. The homeowner had received a summons and complaint from the mortgage company with a foreclosure court date. Long quickly contacted the local legal aid service to coordinate efforts to save the veteran’s home from foreclosure. While the legal aid agency filed a motion to set aside the default in court, Long helped the homeowner apply for help from the Step Forward Michigan program. The homeowner received nearly $12,000 in aid and made the mortgage current.



After largely recovering from a devastating auto accident, a homeowner began suffering ongoing pain that eventually forced an unpaid leave. Even after the spouse took a second job, the family did not have enough to make ends meet, so they dipped into their savings to make the house payments. When their savings were depleted, they started missing mortgage payments.
The couple came to Nancy Latham, MSU Extension housing counselor, for advice on how to save their home from foreclosure. Latham reviewed their income and expenses and created a monthly spending plan based
on what they could afford. She helped them apply for a modification through their mortgage loan servicer, which resulted in their payment being permanently lowered by 300 a month. This reduction meant they could balance their budget each month, and their finances become sustainable once again.
The day they signed the final mortgage modification paperwork, they thanked Latham several times, saying, “We couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you for all your help. We appreciate what you did for us.”


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