Homeowner Assistance Success Stories


The Ingham County Treasurer's Office prides itself on the partnerships it has formed with various community organizations over the years. Our goal is to prevent tax foreclosure by connecting people to agencies and resources that help address the many issues which cause property owners to fall behind on their property taxes. Helping people keep their roofs over their heads and their small business open is a win for all.

Current partnering agencies include the Capital Area Community Services Financial Literacy Program (FINLIT), Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM), The Step Forward Michigan Program (SF), CASE Credit Union, United Way VITA Program, Tri-County Office on Aging (TCOA), and MDHHS.

Below are some of the success stories from the collaboration of these organizations.
(Some names have been changed or removed for privacy purposes.)

If you or someone you know is behind on their property taxes in Ingham County, please reach out to our office! One of our foreclosure prevention team members will be happy to assist you. All of the successes listed below started with a phone call to the Ingham County Treasurer's Office: 517-676-7220

Success Story from June 2020 – Written by Jim Crain, FINLIT Counselor

I met Mark in March 2019 after he had been in the FINLIT program for a year- but struggling to find a way out of tax debt. Owing three years of property taxes, in 2018 Mark and Jess Weaver (FINLIT Counselor) set up $50 month EFT payment to Ingham Co Treasurer. Steady payments helped the Treasurer extend the Foreclosure Deadline, which gave more time to find solutions.

Mark earns $758/mo. SSDI. In talking with him over several occasions, I discovered he was already enrolled with GreenPath and paying monthly to clear credit card debts. He had a loan against his used car that still had $150 payments and was now having reliability issues requiring extensive repair.

His stress was compounded by all the other bills he could not afford to pay: BWL, CE, auto gas, auto repairs. No home repairs. He worried about food; He needed warm clothes for winter. But he kept coming to sessions and we kept plotting ahead. One obstacle, one referral, one document at a time.

Even in the course of applying for Step Forward, for which he was later approved and awarded a $4,100 payment, Mark still veered wildly towards borrowing money {at predatory rates/terms} to clear the tax debt immediately and not wait for a Step Forward decision. He wanted to find an easier way than enduring all the SF Program document requirements. Still, he persisted. And he was Successful!!!

Mark needed clean Title to his home so he was referred to Legal Services of South Central MI where Kyle Jansen worked to remove Mark’s daughter from the deed. This took weeks of calling, texting and coaching him, but he did it.

Mark said hearing he had been approved for the Step Forward payment was a phone call he will never forget. “I about jumped through the roof!” “I am so happy!” “Thank you and tell Jessica thank you, too…for everything you both did for me. I will never forget it!” You could hear the difference in his voice!

Our focus shifted to his 2020 tax burden. He should be able to pay summer taxes in full using his savings. He now has an emergency savings fund.

And most importantly, what I feel is a direct result of the FINLIT Program, was Mark’s ability to receive an unexpected Insurance Beneficiary cash windfall by planning how to best spend it in a number of areas including:
  • Home Improvement {carpet}
  • GreenPath Debt Solutions {paid/settled all credit card debts}
  • 2018 Truck Purchase {cash}
  • 2020 Summer Property Taxes
 A second gift will be coming in the near future and Mark will expect to receive double the initial gift amount as the recipient of his Mother’s estate settlement. He was able to plan for this because he had set goals!

Mark exclaimed, when asked about that moment when he realized the insurance check had more zeros than he thought and to describe what it felt like when the teller informed him of the amount, “I was shocked!”

Compared to where he started his journey with FINLIT up to now – including all the stress he endured along the way – and then to be the benefactor of a generous gift at a critical time in life, “ It was like a BIG LOAD had been lifted!”

Success Story From June 2019 - Written by Jessica Dexter, FINLIT Counselor

On April 10th a referral was placed with Legal Services of South Central Michigan (LSSCM) for a senior who was 67 and had yet to file for their Social Security. At the time of entry into the Financial Literacy Program the client was faced with foreclosure on their property taxes for 2016 in the amount of $2,847.65. The client was granted a withholding of 60 days by the Ingham County Treasurer's Office to look at potential options to resolve their debt. 

When the client came in for a their first session the first thing he said was that he was there, and doubted if anything could be done to help him. The client expressed that his only income was from a rental of only $500.00/month and that he had nothing saved up. After review of his circumstances it was discovered that he was 67 and had yet to file for Social Security. When discussing the option to file, the client expressed the fear of doing so and that he felt it would be too difficult to do so. 

I took time to share with the client about the partnership with LSSCM and doing a referral for him. He was open to it but still hesitant on the services. A referral was placed on April 10th and by April 22nd the client was awarded his Social Security. He would be receiving $1,758.00 within the next few weeks from the SSA. Then, beginning in May of 2019, the client would receive $879.00 per month for Social Security retirement. 

The client had followed up with me in great joy and appreciation for the services provided from LSSCM and Kyle Jansen who had worked with him to make it happen. The client stated he had never seen a governmental entity move so quickly and that if he knew it would be that easy he would have done it sooner.  The client seemed to have new found faith in the system and was very energetic to get his property tax debt paid to save his home. 

On May 15th the client paid in full his 2016 property tax debt of $2,847.65 and was able to save his home. He is now receiving a monthly income and plans to maintain payments to the Ingham County Treasurer to pay off the 2017 and 2018 tax debt while starting payments on his 2019 taxes.