Sarah Godlewski
Press Release

Pilot Program to Prevent Property Tax Foreclosure Kicked Off by State Treasurer’s Homeowners Task Force

Six Wisconsin counties now have a tool to help homeowners facing foreclosure due to delinquent property tax payments

By - Aug 20th, 2021 08:56 am

MADISON, Wis. — Adams, Barron, Douglas, Grant, Langlade, and Price counties now have a program to help low to moderate homeowners stay in their homes by assisting with delinquent property taxes. Part of the recent Treasurers’ Homeowners Task Force, State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, the Foundation for Rural Housing, and county treasurers from the six counties kicked off the Property Tax Revolving Loan Program this summer, which was outlined in the recently published task force report. This newly launched pilot program is an example of this task force not just making recommendations — but implementing creative solutions to help homeowners.

“For so many families in Wisconsin, owning a home is key to stability and financial security,” said State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. “Whether it’s due to unemployment or under-employment because of COVID, or a financial crisis that pre-dates the pandemic, falling behind on property taxes can often become an insurmountable burden that can lead to foreclosure. This pilot program is a critical first step to help low to moderate-income homeowners address late property taxes and keep Wisconsinites in their homes.”

Per state statute, interest and penalties on delinquent property taxes accrue at 1 to 1.5% per month, meaning 12-18% after the first year, 24-36% after two years, and 36-54% after three years. Past due property tax payments can also disqualify homeowners from other sources of assistance, further preventing them from getting back on their feet after a financial crisis. The Property Tax Revolving Loan Program provides affordable financing to get homeowners off the path to foreclosure and provides financial counseling to ensure stability in the future.

“When homeowners are going through financial difficulties, immediate needs such as groceries and childcare often take priority,” said Carrie Eastlick, Grant County Treasurer. “State statutes make it impossible for homeowners to negotiate late payment charges or establish flexible payment plans. With this new pilot program, we can help homeowners in my community get back on track.”

“As county treasurers, we’re often seen as just the tax collectors, but we’re engaged in ensuring the financial security of our communities,” said Lynn Neeck, Price County Treasurer. “This partnership between the Foundation for Rural Housing and the State Treasurer’s Office gives us a tool to help homeowners at a time they need it most.”

Made possible with a $75,000 grant and administered by the Foundation for Rural Housing, the pilot program will assist homeowners with delinquent property taxes in Adams, Barron, Douglas, Grant, Langlade, and Price counties, with the intention to build data and capacity for a statewide program in the future.

“Delinquent property tax assistance has long been a gap in assistance for homeowners in Wisconsin,” said Jenny Fasula. “Partnering with county treasurers, allows us to connect with homeowners in need more effectively, and this new tool gives us an opportunity to provide assistance in these six counties while gathering data on the potential need for a statewide program.”

Residents in Adams, Barron, Douglas, Grant, Langlade, and Price counties, who are in need of assistance are encouraged to review the program brochure and contact the Foundation for Rural Housing at (888) 400-5974 or email wrh@wisconsinruralhousing.org. Homeowners in need of assistance in other Wisconsin counties are encouraged to contact the newly launched Take Root Wisconsin at https://takerootwi.org/contact/.

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