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      Flint-area faith leaders help prevent foreclosure

      Nearly 7,500 Genesee County properties are headed for foreclosure this April. But the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) is telling homeowners that help is within reach.

      Flint-area clergy and faith leaders joined MSHDA officials Monday to announce a new program, Step Forward Michigan, which aims to help families stay in their homes.

      "We can't use a state or federal government agency anymore. It has to be people to people,â?? Genesee County Clerk John Gleason said.

      Local leaders say foreclosure prevention programs are often under-used because homeowners are embarrassed or reluctant to ask for government help.

      â??So we're asking the help from these religious leaders to connect those families to us for help,â?? MSHDA Dir. of Home Ownership Mary Townley said.

      Step Forward Michigan offers up to $30,000 to pay delinquent taxes and help make or subsidize mortgage payments for jobless homeowners.

      â??We're going rebuild one home, one neighborhood, one street, one park at a time and we'll get Flint back better than where it was before,â?? Rev. Ira Edwards of Damascus Holy Life Baptist Church said.

      For more information on Step Forward Michigan, visit