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Rent, mortgage assistance available to financially vulnerable in Clinton Twp.

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published August 25, 2020

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Those that may be facing financial turmoil due to COVID-19 are eligible to receive tentative relief due to a local rent and mortgage assistance program.

From now until Aug. 31, income-qualified applicants in Clinton Township can take advantage of three months of mortgage and rent assistance for a period of three consecutive months, with assistance provided to applicants’ mortgage companies or landlords.

Clinton Township Assistant Planning Director Matt Wallace said the township is able to utilize this program through federal CARES Act funding, of which the township has about $360,000 to utilize as part of this program.

He said funding comes from a formula devised by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, allotted to communities such as Clinton Township that receive Community Development Block Grant dollars on an annual basis. The township has two years to spend it.

Wallace created a specific formula for township residents, of which about 30% or 8,000 individuals are renters.

The applicant’s 2019 total annual household income minus current household income must be greater than the value of three months’ worth of rent or mortgage. If the applicant’s 2019 total annual household income minus current household income is less than the equivalent of three months’ worth of rent or mortgage, their maximum assistance is the lesser of the two totals.

He said the formula based on anticipated need and steering dollars towards the neediest.

“Every community has the liberty to create their own program,” Wallace said. “I created this one just basically to give to people who need it the most.

“Mostly we just kept our eyes on the news and they kept talking about housing being a huge problem because of months of lost income. We were anticipating a big demand once the eviction moratorium was removed.”

The fact that the three months have to be consecutive is a HUD regulation, he said.

The maximum rent or mortgage reimbursed is $1,750 per month, or $5,250 total. Wallace said current income has to be less than 80% of the area need, so about $62,800 for a family of four. To be considered affordable housing, the metric is 30% of gross income towards rent or housing.

After looking at that 30% number and the reality of the rent market, Wallace said the $1,750 is where the number settled.

“We talked about the rent market in Clinton Township, and I looked at for larger families the maximum income. … We don’t anticipate paying that much because these are lower-income families,” he said. “We didn’t want to exclude larger families who have to find bigger houses and probably pay bigger rents. They’re going to need help, too.”

Visit https://clintontownship.com/rent-and-mortgage-assistance.html to fill out the application. Applicants must read the certification, sign, date and return it to: Matt Wallace, 40700 Romeo Plank Road, Clinton Township 48038, by 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31.

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