By Jessica Mathews /

Local agencies are joining forces to help spread the word about a federal assistance program aimed at supporting homeowners negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Livingston County United Way, Oakland Livingston Human Services Agency and the Livingston County Treasurer’s Office are working to educate the community about MI-HAF or The Michigan Homeowner’s Assistance Fund. It’s part of the ARP, a federal assistance program that helps homeowners who have been negatively financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury notified MSHDA in April that it would allocate $242.8 (m) million to the State of Michigan for the MIHAF program. The number was based on unemployed individuals and the number of mortgagors with delinquent mortgage payments.

The MIHAF application program launched to the public on February 14th. The program can mitigate homeowner hardship by providing up to $25,000 per household to assist with delinquent mortgage, taxes, utilities and more.

The three local agencies have created an informational video to help residents identify their eligibility, prepare necessary documentation and apply.

Livingston County Treasurer Jennifer Nash says they’ve already experienced success stories through the MIHAF program since its mid-February launch and they encourage local homeowners facing financial challenges to contact their office to discuss the program as well as other resources available for property tax assistance. Nash says the MIHAF program, which will pay the 2019-2021 property taxes for eligible homeowners, comes at a critical time for taxpayers behind on their 2019 property taxes. She says the 2019, or prior, taxes must be paid on or before March 31st, 2022 to avoid foreclosure and loss of the property.

Nash commented that the partnership is just one example of why Livingston County is so great in that it tackles things as a team. She added that her one most important piece of advice to homeowners who might be struggling to pay their property taxes is “just to reach out”.

Additionally, there are specially trained HUD Certified Housing Counselors at OLHSA to help people understand and identify options to get back on track with payments.

More information is available in the attached press release. A link to the video is provided.