Labor and Economic Opportunity
Anna Vicari, VicariA@michigan.gov
August 13, 2021
LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), in partnership with DTE Energy and Detroit Public Television, is hosting an online Housing and Assistance Fair to highlight resources available to help Michigan renters and homeowners maintain their housing stability and energy services.
The event, 5-6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18, will outline programs that can help prevent eviction and foreclosure and energy disconnects for those facing pandemic-related hardships. Attendance is free and open to all Michiganders, but registration is required at Michigan.gov/MSHDAEvents to ensure event platform capacity. The fair will also be broadcast live on Detroit Public Television's One Detroit | Facebook page.
"Having an affordable, safe place to call home is about more than shelter. It's about dignity, stability, and opportunity," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "That's why over the past year, I acted decisively to keep people in their homes with a statewide eviction moratorium and rental assistance and diversion programs. I'm proud to have signed legislation that brought more federal funds to MSHDA to help individuals, families, and property owners maintain their housing stability and financial security. Through this event, it's my hope more Michiganders will become aware of the programs available to them and reach out for help."
MSHDA's chief housing solutions officer, Kelly Rose, will share details about the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program, which has ample federal funds available to help eligible renters facing pandemic-related hardships avoid eviction while also ensuring landlords can recoup owed rent. MSHDA administers CERA through its statewide network of local nonprofit agencies.
So far, more than 20,000 households across Michigan have been helped.
"The CERA program is a critical resource for maintaining rental stability for Michiganders across the state. While the pandemic has impacted us all in different ways, we encourage any renters suffering financial-related hardships from the pandemic to visit Michigan.gov/CERA or their local Housing Assessment and Resource Agency (HARA) to learn more and apply today," Rose said.
Sakinah Howard, manager of energy assistance at DTE, will walk attendees through quick and easy ways renters and homeowners can access help with their energy bills. She also will talk about the State Emergency Relief Program through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and how it may help families whose incomes are at or below 150% of federal poverty guidelines keep their energy on year-round.
"We know Michiganders are struggling now more than ever, which is why we've developed personalized programs and assistance plans to ensure the lights stay on," said Howard. "If any customer needs help, we encourage them to call us immediately at 1-800-477-4747 right away so we can explore options that fit with their budget and lifestyle."
Mary Townley, MSHDA's director of Homeownership, will offer a look ahead at a $242.8 million program launching this fall to help homeowners facing pandemic-related hardships prevent foreclosure. The Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF), established under President Biden's American Rescue Plan, will provide funds to eligible homeowners for foreclosure prevention, defaults, and loss of utilities. Homeowners with a COVID-19-related hardship on or after Jan. 21, 2020, may be eligible.
Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree will provide information about property tax payment plan options, including how Wayne County households in 17 communities can participate in the Pay As You Stay (PAYS) program, which may reduce the amount of delinquent taxes owed for lower income homeowners who qualify for their city, township or village Poverty Tax Exemption.
Time also has been reserved for questions and answers from attendees after the presentations.