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City extends deadline for homeowners facing foreclosure

But can they reach the people who need assistance?

Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Earlier this month, the ACLU reached a settlement with the city of Detroit in order help homeowners facing foreclosure buy back their homes for $1,000. Given that the Wayne County tax foreclosure auction is quickly approaching, a tight deadline for homeowners was offered at that time. Now, citing the extensive amount of people who haven’t been reached, that deadline has been extended to August 31.

In this program, the city purchases homes from the county, and then passes the homes to the United Community Housing Coalition, which helps renters and homeowners navigate the process of staying in their homes and purchase the homes with affordable payment programs.

Many of the houses that end up in the tax auction are occupied by renters but the homes themselves have negligent owners who haven’t paid taxes.

The city announced today that about 700 households in the city meet the criteria, but only 120 homeowners have signed up.

Michele Oberholtzer of UCHC tells Curbed that the number of occupied homes facing foreclosure this year is about 1,500. UCHC has been doing workshops since April, but since the settlement was announced, the volume of people they’ve helped has increased dramatically.

“We are seeing people who didn’t even know their home was foreclosed because they were paying on a payment plan but fell behind,” she says. “We are concerned about people who are immobile due to medical or transportation issues.”

She adds, “And through it all, we are trying to sign more people up, but we are limited by how much money we can raise. If the program doesn’t have enough money to purchase these homes from the county, then we will have to reject the people that we have vetted. There are approximately 1,500 occupied homes that are foreclosed right now and we probably only have money for 300 or 400 of them.”

UCHC currently has a Patronicity campaign to help raise funds to help get homeowners into this program.

Applicants who might qualify for the program need to bring these items to UCHC at 2727 Second Avenue during intake hours—Tuesdays at 5 p.m. (with the exception of Election Day on Aug. 7) and Wednesdays and Fridays at 11 a.m.—through Aug. 24.

  • A deed, land contract, or other ownership document.
  • A photo ID for driver’s license for all adults.
  • A report card or other official document (with address) for all children.
  • Proof of ALL income for every adult, such as 2017 federal and/or state income tax return OR a W-2, pay stubs, SSI/SSD statement, pension, food stamps award letter, etc.
  • Water bill and DTE bill
  • Other expenses: Medical bills, credit card, cable/internet, insurance, etc.