Families fight to stop tax foreclosure evictions

Thousands of families on the brink of losing their homes - proof that the foreclosure crisis is not over in Detroit.

Those residents are demanding evictions be halted until taxes are reassessed. A foreclosure protest is expected tonight outside Mayor Mike Duggan's State of the City Address.

Regina Moore was homeless with two sons after losing her job - until she was given a home in Highland Park in 2012.

"I know what it's like to be homeless and not have a home, and have children in the street living from place to place," she said. "It's horrible, it's horrible," 

Moore has been paying off the back taxes for her house and yet is still in danger of losing her home.

"I'm fighting dearly to hold on to the property so we no longer have to live from place to place or in the street homeless," Moore said.

A mother, a chaplain, a homeowner - she's one of thousands facing foreclosure.

On the eighth floor of the city county building - many are waiting to request their property be reassessed in hopes of lowering their payments.

"It would help - it would help having the taxes assessed lower," said resident Leonard Ross.

But what helps the people - doesn't help Wayne County admits Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.

"We actually do better the more foreclosures we have," he said. "If it doesn't work well socially, it works well for us.  We're hoping that's revenue we won't continue to get, but fiscally it doesn't help us, not to have it."

It's an issue Duggan is attempting to address by reassessing property - because taxes are way too high.

"There isn't any doubt that the assessments in this town have been a source of great anger to a lot of Detroiters," Duggan said. "In the worst case they have forced people from their homes."

Joe McGuire with Detroit Eviction Defense Fund wants to see the foreclosures stop and the city take a different approach. 

"If you admit (taxes are) way too high why are you foreclosing on all these people based on these false assessments," he said. "It's a terrible mistake for the city's long-term future to collect this cheap and easy revenue. at the cost of our neighborhoods."

"We're asking for a moratorium on the tax foreclosures and conduct reasonable reassessments of people's property."

He says michigan had millions of dollars from the federal government that should have been distributed to people in financial hardship over the past few years - but instead of giving it to the people in need to 

save their homes, it's being used to demolish abandoned houses that people could still be living in.

"What we need to do is make sure people can stay in their homes so they can have some stability," Moore said. "And not be shifted here and there"

Wayne County says there are about 18,000 owner-occupied homes headed for foreclosure but at least 5,000 have been helped with payment plans and new legislation.

For more information on how to get foreclosure help:

http://www.wcccd.edu/pdfs/2014/WC_Treasurer_2014_Campus%20-%20%20BILLBOARDS.pdf

http://waynecounty.com/treasurer/775.htm

http://www.uchcdetroit.org/home.html

http://detroitevictiondefense.org/

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