Quicken Loans Community Fund Initiative Keeps 4,316 Detroit Families from Entering Property Tax Foreclosure in 2018

A record 4,316 families living in at-risk properties were able to avoid the 2018 Wayne County tax foreclosure auction due to the Quicken Loans Community Fund and its Neighbor to Neighbor program partners.
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door-to-door outreach
The Quicken Loans Community Fund helped prevent 4,316 families’ homes from tax foreclosure auctions in Wayne County. // Stock photo

A record 4,316 families living in at-risk properties were able to avoid the 2018 Wayne County tax foreclosure auction due to the Quicken Loans Community Fund and its Neighbor to Neighbor program partners.

The Neighbor to Neighbor initiative is focused on door-to-door outreach of the 60,000 Detroit families living in tax-delinquent properties. Canvassing was completed by the Quicken Loans Community Fund and 32 community partners through grants provided by the Quicken Loans Community Fund.

“Tens of thousands of Detroit residents have been displaced by property tax foreclosure, and on top of the human impact, many of these homes fall into disrepair and become blighted, perpetuating a harmful cycle that destroys vibrant communities,” says Laura Grannemann, vice president of strategic investments for the Quicken Loans Community Fund. “By working with community partners, we are stabilizing housing in Detroit, preventing future blight, and helping homeowners and occupants find sustainable, long-term solutions for their property tax burdens.”

During last year’s outreach, 21 percent of homeowners were unaware their property was behind on property taxes. Even more astonishing, 61 percent of renters in tax-delinquent properties were unaware of the home’s tax status. Through Neighbor to Neighbor, all residents are given information about property tax foreclosure and how to connect to resources.

“As Detroit comes back, we need to do everything we can to make sure those who stayed in our city through good times and bad are able to stay in their homes,” says Mayor Mike Duggan. “We are seeing real progress in tax foreclosure reductions that impact all of our neighborhoods, and through programs like Neighbor to Neighbor, we will continue this important work in close partnership with the community.”

The Quicken Loans Community Fund has launched its 2019 effort, promising to reach all city residents living in a property behind on its property taxes. The company, and 24 community partners, will canvass every Detroit property with delinquent property taxes from now until August.

Through the effort, underwritten by the Quicken Loans Community Fund, canvassers will educate at-risk owner-occupants and non-deed holders alike about property tax exemptions, the Make It Home program, the process for challenging assessments, how to check property taxes and the city of Detroit’s newly created Plan Ahead program allowing property taxes to be paid via a payment plan.

“Thanks to the grant provided by the Quicken Loans Community Fund, we have the opportunity to canvas our neighborhoods and educate our residents about a myriad of programs that provide housing stability,” says Raquel Garcia, director of housing and special Projects for Global Detroit, a Neighbor to Neighbor partner with multilingual canvassers who ensure equality of access. “Property tax foreclosure affects thousands of Detroiters every year, but through Neighbor to Neighbor, we are achieving meaningful reductions resulting in permanent solutions.”

By visiting every tax-delinquent property, canvassers aim to prevent more than 11,000 properties facing immediate risk of tax foreclosure from entering this fall’s tax foreclosure auction, including 4,371 currently occupied homes, through connecting them with the various resources and programs for which they are eligible.

“Shockingly, through Neighbor to Neighbor, we found that 75 percent of homeowners behind on property taxes should have been able to obtain a complete property tax exemption based on their income,” Grannemann continues. “We are committed to ensuring that every Detroit resident has access to the tools they need.”

To educate residents on these annual exemptions, more than 50 property tax exemption workshops have been conducted by partner non-profits through grants provided by the Quicken Loans Community Fund this year, with more than 125 more workshops scheduled.

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