Buyback program by Land Bank lets people own houses they were living in

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They could have ended up in foreclosure.

But on Thursday Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan handed out the deeds to houses once owned by the Land Bank, now the property of the people who had been living there.

"Who's getting a deed today?" he said.

"This is big for me because I have never accomplished something so awesome," said Tiffany Peterson. "This is big for me and I'm so grateful for this program."

Three years ago Tiffany Peterson was pregnant with twins and squatting in the home owned by the Land Bank. Now through its buyback program she is an officially a homeowner, and a really happy mom of sons Michael and Kenneth.

"I'm in school, I found a good job with benefits, my children are happy and healthy, I'm a homeowner," she said. "That house has given me stability." Which is what this program is all about.

On this day, deeds were granted to 112 people who could have been foreclosed on and ended up on the street. Those like Lottie Hines, who was a victim of fraud and nearly lost her home.

"They will put me out just like they would anyone else," she said. "So I fought to get my property back."

And with the help of the Land Bank buyback program, she's able to do just that.

"I'm happy for to get it back," she said.

FOX 2: "So how exciting is this day?"

"Oh my goodness. This is like, I have been waiting for this day for a while," Hines said. 

Bobby Cook Jr. also got the deed to his house and was able to purchase it from the Land Bank after finding out he'd been paying rent to someone who didn't even own it.

Cook went through the buyback program and received help with financial literacy and property repairs.

"I didn't feel alone though the journey," he said.

He's definitely not alone. Three hundred and fifty people have already gone through the buyback program, and 110 more will get their deeds next month, with even more on the way.

"They got so much revitalization going on in the community," he said. "I'm like okay - I've got to be a part of that, so great things are happening."

Learn more HERE at the Land Bank website