Program to help citizens pay past due property taxes

ESCANABA – Delta County has announced its participation in a program that provides financial assistance for past due property taxes; the program was discussed during a recent meeting of the Delta County Board of Commissioners.

The county has entered into an agreement with the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Nonprofit Housing Corporation (MHA) to participate in the program, which assists property taxpayers who have encountered temporary financial difficulties in paying their property taxes, according to Delta County Treasurer Tom Sabor.

“Homeowners may be eligible to receive assistance on their primary residence from one of Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA)’s four programs which includes a new element for the payment of delinquent property tax payments,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Treasury established a Hardest Hit Fund in 2010 to provide targeted aid to families in states hit hard by the economic and housing market downturn. Michigan received $498.6 million in Emergency Economic Stabilization (ESSA) or Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to operate its Hardest Hit Funds program. The MHA was created by the MSHDA to oversee the distribution of these funds in Michigan.

One of the four programs is the Loan Rescue Program, where homeowners who have fallen behind on their payments can receive a one-time offer of financial assistance of up to $30,000 for their mortgage and/or property taxes and need help catching up.

Taxpayers will be asked to sign a forgivable loan note and mortgage lien for the amount of assistance granted, said Sabor.

“The loan is provided at a 0 percent interest rate, requires no monthly payments, and will be forgiven at 20 percent each year as long as the property remains the homeowner’s primary residence,” explained Sabor.

The Unemployment Mortgage Subsidy Program is one of the other three programs the MSHDA provides, which helps unemployed homeowners stay in their homes by providing monthly mortgage payment assistance directly to their mortgage lender. A third program, the Modification Plan Program, pays the delinquent amount or contributes toward the unpaid principal balance to reduce negative equity.

One final program, the Principal Curtailment Program, helps homeowners who have negative equity and requires a one-to-one match from the lender if the lender agrees to modify the existing mortgage.

Sabor said to be eligible for the programs, qualified individuals must have: a qualified involuntary hardship, cash reserve assets balances that meet program guidelines, a residence occupied as a primary residence, and/or outstanding local or county property taxes, and sustainability.

For additional information and requirements, taxpayers should visit the MSHDA website at, or call 1-866-946-7432. They can also call the Delta County Treasurer’s Office at 789-5117.

In other business, the board:

authorized the signing of a county-wide phragmites permit application for removing the invasive species from along the county’s shoreline. According to Delta County Administrator Nora Viau, having the one-year, county-wide phragmites permit application removes the need for each homeowner with the invasive species to apply for a permit. Homeowners who are interested in being included under the permit must contact the Delta County Soil Conservation District, which will provide further instructions. The county will enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the soil conservation district to help the property owners eradicate the invasive species.

adopted a proclamation declaring Feb. 23 “Walk for Warmth Day” in Delta County.