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Monday, September 15, 2014

Saving Homes in Detroit with help from International, Federal, State and, Local Agencies

by The Friends of George Cushingberry

Public and private stakeholders and, elected officials met on Sept 4th in the Governor's Office to discuss management of the reversion of 20,000 properties by the Wayne County Treasurer, preparation for another 80,000 in 2015 and collaboration on "life quality policy solutions and metrics" in Detroit that align with global goals of the United Nations as part of a collaboration lead by Communities Without Boarders International

One of the primary reasons that people lose their home is that they are not paying the property tax on their primary residence. In this process the property is in the hands of the Wayne County Treasurer. When the taxes become due, if a homeowner does not pay the bill, their home remains property of the Wayne County Treasurer until the bill is paid or, the property gets transferred to the land bank.

A panel of experts composed of:
  • United Nations Economics Advisor Dr. Jeffery Sachs
  • Director of the Governor’s Office of Urban & Metropolitan Strategies, Harvey Hollins
  • Black Caucus Foundation Managing Director; Dr. KB Stallworth,
  • Members from the Michigan Housing State Development Authority,
  • Legislative Black Caucus,
  • City of Detroit
  • Wayne County Treasurer (click here for property tax payment info)

The goals of this panel were as follows:
  1. Recover and Collect delinquent taxes
  2. Prevent Evictions
  3. Provide leadership and assistance to help people keep their homes.
  4. Allowing property owners to make arrangements to pay taxes in arrears and become current.
  5. Helping old homeowners to keep their existing homes or providing opportunities to move in and fix one up.
This group engaged in a lively discussion regarding helping citizens keep their homes. The City of Detroit has been thorough tough times and is currently on the rebound to prosperity. Sadly some citizens are living paycheck to paycheck because of Job Loss and other unforeseen events that can’t be covered by insurance. Therefore you cannot throw them under the bus for something that is beyond their control.

As a part of a global neighborhood stabilization plan, the City of Detroit has been selected by the United Nations to be a catalyst for implementing sustainable life quality strategies. Some of the methods discussed were using holistic solutions before the year of 2020.  This effort encompasses the UN model of humanity where the access to clean water is essential to life. To maintain reliable water supply there must be collaboration of ideas from organizations like Government, Manufacturers, Builders, Universities, and society worldwide. The ability to manufacture products that do not add to the carbon footprint will be our answer to deal with the issues of worldwide climate change. For instance the creation of building materials for homes using agricultural resources like plants will save the environment and create lots of jobs with opportunities for growth.

An interesting law is called the Reversion Claim Clause where a person who purchases a private property will not be charged the back taxes that are owed. This and other programs like Hardest Hit Program from the Michigan Housing State Development Authority(Click here for MHSDA) that will allow a homeowner to apply for funds for the sole purpose of keeping them in their home. Home ownership is essential to a City that is in need of a renaissance and the authority has programs for a low income tax credit that help people to keep their home.

Another piece of information that came out of the meeting is the ability for a Detroit Resident to purchase an empty lot next to their property for $100. If a person goes to the website they can go to the Wayne County Treasurer’s office and purchase the lot next to them and maintain it.

Councilman Cushingberry overwhelmingly supports the effort to keep people in their homes. Coleman Young always said that there is nothing better to keeping people in their homes like a good paying job. After leaving work, a person needs a place to lay their head and, there is nothing better than a home.

If we can be of any assistance please feel free to contact the office..

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