JACKSON, Mich. — The city of Jackson will be directing federal money toward low-income homeowners on the verge of losing their homes.
The city plans to use $100,000 in federal cares money for foreclosure prevention. Another $20,000 will go to the Community Action Agency to pay for counseling staff to help city residents avoid eviction.
“I think for low-income families, even moderate income families in our community, often times...if your property taxes are not being escrowed with your mortgage it becomes a big chunk of money that you don’t really think about until it is due and it becomes problematic," said Community Action Agency CEO Toby Berry.
And the pandemic has made it a particularly bad time to be in a shelter or any other cramped living situation.
“This weather and the pandemic creates situations where you don’t want to be in congregate shelter, right?" said Berry. "You don’t want to be living in other places with people who may have been exposed.”
City officials unanimously approved the use of the funds during Tuesday's council meeting.
"I think it becomes harder when you’re looking at all of the rest of your basic needs to decide to make that large payment," said Berry. "So, we’ve definitely seen a lot of people who are fearful about making that next payment and even that next mortgage payment. Many people who have been unemployed for a while are struggling. So, we’ve definitely seen an increase in that type of fear.”
This money will go only to homeowners living within the city who meet certain income guidelines.
“You have to be of a low-to-moderate income," said Jackson Public Information Officer Aaron Dimick. "There are income requirements and there are certain other stipulations you have to meet. You have to show that you have faced financial hardships due to the pandemic and that you have a couple years of foreclosure danger, I guess you could say, so we have to see there is an immediate need that we can help.”
As for a family of four, that may be as low as $26,200 in total income.
Statistics from the Community Action Agency show that 103 homeowners in the city are facing foreclosure. On average, a payment of $2,700 in taxes and fees would keep their homes out of foreclosure.
“We know that around 50% of our city lives below or at the poverty level or slightly above the poverty level," said Dimick. "We have a lot of people in our city who are at low-to-moderate income so we hope that this can be something that can help the people in our city because we’re already know that people in our city our struggling.”
The money will not be distributed directly to individuals according Berry, but rather to the county or the mortgage vendor so people can pay their taxes or mortgage.
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