Detroiters can now get zero-interest home repair loans
Catherine Martin says when she heard on TV this morning that Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan was going to announce a new program giving out zero-interest loans for home repairs, she knew she needed to get to that press conference.
So she called her son “who has one of those smart phones” at 6 a.m., asked him to Google the press conference address, and then took two buses to be there in time.
“I’m willing to do whatever I got to do right now, because I feel like my back is up against the wall,” Martin says.
“I would love to stay in my house, but if I can’t fix the roof I won’t be able to stay in there! Because the water damage is going to be so extensive that it won’t be able to be repaired.”
Duggan announced the plan today at a local church, in a neighborhood where he says the property values have been going up.
“I wanted something for people who own their homes and have stayed in the neighborhoods. But we could not come up with enough money on our own. We could come up with $4 million,” he told a small crowd, adding that Bank of American was adding an additional $4 million to the loan pool.
What kind of loans are we talking about here?
These are zero interest loans between $5,000 to $25,000.
The loans can be for home repairs like furnace replacement, structural repairs, and roof replacements. But if the home has health and safety hazards, those issues must be addressed first before other repairs can be made.
Who is eligible for the loans?
Anyone who lives in the city is eligible, so long as they own their homes and make less than $38,000 as an individual, or if they’re a family of four making less than $54,000.
However, if you do make more than that, you can still get one of these loans if you live in a neighborhood where the average income is below those caps.
“Maybe they got a raise, but they wanted to stay in the neighborhood, they want to put money in the house, you’re going to be eligible for this program,” says Duggan.
You also need to have a credit score of 560 or higher. If your credit is lower than that, then the city says it will set you up with free credit counseling.
What happens if you don’t pay the loan back?
“Make no mistake: this is not a giveaway,” says Duggan.
If you don’t repay your loan within 10 years, then “we won’t foreclose on you, but it will affect your credit score and we will take legal action to collect upon it.”
“Because here’s the thing about this: as you repay the first $8 million, it’s there to make loans to somebody else the next year and the next year.
“We’re creating a permanent source of funds to finance the rehab of houses so everyone who stayed in this town is going to benefit from what I believe will be the growing property values that are happening more and more.”