Donors help stop Detroit house foreclosures as part of new program

- Hundreds of Detroiters in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure are now getting a second chance thanks to a new program by the Wayne County Treasurers office.

"I only get $800 per month from Social Security and I'm way behind in my taxes," said homeowner Mary Lewis.

Lewis, 90, has owned her Detroit home since 1962. But living on a fixed income, she says she almost lost her home because of property tax foreclosure.

"I borrowed money from some people and then later on I paid them back," she said. "But I stay broke all the time."

"Wayne County has been hit hard by tax foreclosures," said Eric Sabree, Wayne County treasurer.

But a new program is working to provide relief  - the Wayne County Treasurer's Office says thanks to donations, they are helping taxpayers save their homes from property tax foreclosure by paying off their 2014 taxes.

"There was enough money raised through non-profits and businesses (like) Captain Jay's, Life for Relief and Development, Care and Share and U Snap Bac non-profit provide the money and paid taxes for 106 families.

"So we got everybody who owed less than $1,000 who was facing foreclosure."

Residents say it is programs like this that can help neighborhoods grow.

"We want to stay in our homes so this program would be wonderful for us," Sabree said. "It's a real victory for everyone, neighborhood, for city that we were able to help."

But city officials make it clear this donation program is not a permanent fix.

"This is a short-term solution to keep people alive, in game, to keep them in property until it gets better," he said.

Residents who are facing financial difficulties should contact the treasurer's office to discuss various payment options

"We're here to help," Sabree said. "We have lots of programs available. We want to talk with people before it gets too late."

For more information, call the office at (313)-224-5990 or email taxinfo@waynecounty.com
 

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