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Saginaw homeowners warned to be vigilant against home repair program scammers
February 03, 2023
MSHDA, Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity warn Saginaw homeowners to be vigilant against home repair program scammers
SAGINAW, Mich. -- The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity are warning Saginaw residents to be aware of scammers trying to trick them into paying for home repairs that are free under a state program.
According to Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity, a person is canvassing homes in Saginaw County soliciting funds to “start” home repairs that are free to the homeowner through MSHDA’s Michigan Housing Opportunities Promoting Energy Efficiency (MI-HOPE) program. The individual, not affiliated with the program, has already shown up at a handful of homes with a measuring tape to give the impression that they are on official business for the program.
“Fortunately, no one has provided money to the individual so far that we are aware of, but they are knocking on doors and attempting to swindle people, and that’s concerning. All people who meet with homeowners regarding this program will make an appointment and show proper credentials,” said Carmen Mora, Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity executive director.
Mora also said clients will have already met at least one of the employees at the Habitat for Humanity office prior to an on-site visit, and no employees will come to the house outside of the planned appointment.
“We do not ask for money from the homeowner. All financial transactions for MI-HOPE are handled through Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity,” said Tonya Joy, director of the Neighborhood Housing Initiatives Division at MSHDA. “If someone is coming to your door asking for money for this program, you should tell them you’re not interested and call the police. We want to catch bad actors attempting to defraud the federal government, which provided the funding for this program.”
Joy also had a stern warning for those who would try to defraud unsuspecting homeowners in the program. “What you’re attempting to do is a federal crime, and if you take so much as a dollar, we will seek to hold you accountable.”
The MI-HOPE program was first announced in June of 2022 to provide local government and nonprofit agencies the funding needed to help low-income households make home repairs that will enhance energy efficiency.
Funding is still available. For more details and to apply for MI-HOPE, please visit https://www.michigan.gov/mi-hope. If you need assistance with your application or require a paper application, dial 211.