Cass County treasurer raising awareness about fund for Michigan homeowners

Published 8:05 am Friday, October 1, 2021

CASSOPOLIS — By the end of the year, applications will be open for a fund to help Michigan homeowners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and one local official wants to make sure that Cass County residents get a share.

Cass County Treasurer Hope Anderson is spreading the word about the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund. The MIHAF fund was established under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help Michigan Homeowners who had a qualifying financial hardship associated with the coronavirus pandemic. Each household may be eligible for up to $25,000 MIHAF assistance on their primary residence for delinquent property taxes, delinquent mortgages, utilities, gas, electric, water, sewer and internet broadband services.

“I’m excited because we had a lot of people behind on their property taxes, so I want to make sure those who qualify know about this — and it does so much more than just property taxes,” Anderson said.

Applications for the program are expected to be open by December.

“Cass County does not have a housing agency to promote this program, so I am going to do my part and inform as many organizations as I can,” Anderson said. “If we start now, our Cass County residents will get the help they need.”

For the fund, the U.S. Department of the Treasury allocated $242.8 million to the state of Michigan based on the number of unemployed individuals and the number of mortgagors with delinquent mortgage payments.

“Anyone in the state can apply, and that’s why we need to get the word out,” Anderson said. “There is $242 million that is going to get spent in the state of Michigan, whether we get it in our little corner of southwest Michigan or not. We want to make sure that those who qualify, those who are in need, apply or even know this resource is available because it is going to get spent. We have to use it or lose it.”

Between now and when applications open, Anderson said she will be working throughout the county to raise awareness of the MIHAF fund by calling residents and meeting with area organizations. She even hopes to host a resource fair sometime in the coming months.

“Preventing homeowner foreclosures is very important to me,” she said. “A lot of times people who have struggled with their property taxes have struggled with their utilities and their mortgages, so it all goes hand in hand. … [MIHAF] is a big resource that I think could really help Cass County residents.”

For more information on the program and to determine if a homeowner qualifies, call 211 or contact the Cass County Treasurer’s Office at (269) 445-4468 or hopea@cassco.org.