The city of Detroit received $1.3 million from the Quicken Loans Community Fund to purchase occupied foreclosed homes to divert them from auction as part of the Make it Home program — a public-private partnership.
Recently, more than 40 residents received the deeds to houses lost to tax foreclosure, according to the Detroit Free Press. The residents repaid the city’s purchase price of those homes, ranging from $1,000 to $8,000. The payback funds go into a revolving fund. Close to 300 residents have been able to purchase foreclosed homes through the program.
Often, occupants do not realize their landlords had failed to pay property taxes and that the homes were to be foreclosed. In the first year of the program, 63 residents took possession of the deeds to their homes through the program, and others are on payment plans working to get the deed, which is held by the non-profit United Community Housing Coalition.
“Tax foreclosure was the logical next step, so we spent the last five years really deeply researching the tax foreclosure cycle, we’ve collected a ton of data from Wayne County itself, we’ve worked with the City of Detroit and folks like United Community Housing Coalition to really deeply understand the problem,” said Laura Grannemann, vice president for strategic investments for the Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund, noting that funding to address tax foreclosures came from a blight study that found 86 percent of blight comes from tax foreclosures.
In addition to preventing foreclosure, “this program allows renters to become homeowners and build equity in their neighborhoods. It also puts them in a better position to participate in revitalization efforts taking place in the city as investors in their neighborhood,” said Arthur Jemison, a Detroit housing official who helped create the Make It Home Program.
This year the Quicken Loans Community Fund will also be giving $300,000 to United Community Housing Coalition to provide additional funding for program participants to make repairs on their properties. Participants that complete the nominal purchase prices and receive their deed can apply for up to $10,000 for the new repair program — half will be provided as a grant and the other half, a zero-interest loan.
Learn more about Detroit efforts to address blight: