The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) has announced that three agencies are slated to receive funding aimed at helping distressed homeowners. The funding comes from grants obtained through the National Mortgage Settlement, and total nearly $600,000. The state hopes that the agencies receiving these funds will be able to provide much-needed services to homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

The three agencies provide financial counseling to distressed homeowners. Examples of the benefits of such programs include assistance developing and implementing a budget. Counselors work with homeowners to determine how much income is coming into the household, and what expenses are required each month. Then, all other expenses can be viewed, which makes it easier to detect where savings measures could be put into place.

In addition, financial counseling can be helpful in identifying grants and programs that can help homeowners refinance their existing mortgage or delay a foreclosure action. In some cases, counselors will act as an intermediary between the lender and the homeowner, and help to create a solution that meets the interests of both parties. In other cases, services are limited to simply pointing homeowners in the right direction, which leaves individuals on their own to navigate additional assistance options.

For those in Michigan who are struggling to keep their homes, news of the recent funding boost may come as a welcome relief. In many cases, however, financial counseling or loan modification is not sufficient to avoid losing a home to foreclosure. In such cases, more aggressive debt relief is required. Often, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers the best path toward reorganizing debt and avoiding foreclosure.

Source: michigan.gov, MSHDA Awards Nearly $600,000 in Housing Counseling Grants to Agencies That Provide Foreclosure-related services, No author, Dec. 4, 2013

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