Step Forward MI program invokes faith leaders to help at risk homeowners
Caroline MacGregor May 20, 2013 | WGVU In
an attempt to reach homeowners fearful of losing their homes, the Michigan
State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) is working alongside local churches
to get the word out about its Step Forward Michigan program.
“We're hearing across the state that homeowners don't know where to go to get help and sometimes because of that they'll ignore the
Townley, Director of Home Ownership at the Michigan State Housing Development
Authority (MSHDA). Step Forward Michigan
is a free program that helps ward off foreclosure through unemployment
subsidies, rescue funds and property tax programs.
Counselors guide homeowners
through each step needed to keep their homes. The program hasn’t changed, Townley
says churches are just a new conduit to letting people know help is available.
“We want them to reach out for help through the Step Forward Program and if they feel the need to go to a trusted advisor which may be their faith based leader to do that - they will refer those clients to us.”
Senator Mark Jansen and State Representative Winnie Brinks believe involving
churches is key to the program’s success.
"The old stigma of hey, I lost my job and then I lost my home, I lost my family - all the devastation that comes through that process; the church tends to be the one that's in the middle of those conversations often."
"Housing, or lack thereof, possibly starting with foreclosure and ending with worst case scenario, homelessness."
the announcement - Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell along with Rev. Jerry
Bishop, founder of Lifequest Urban Outreach Center, Rev. John Geaney of St. Andrew's Cathedral and Rev. Emmett Harrison,
pastor of Oakdale Park Christian Reformed Church, where the event was held.
“The impact of foreclosure certainly not only devastates the individual due to personal loss but also impacts interpersonal dynamics in terms of family relationships - oftentimes marriages can fall apart, children are displaced and moved around from school to school.”
information on MSHDA’s Step Forward Michigan can be found at www.StepForwardMichigan.org
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