Land bank program lets residents buy back houses, become home owners

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Dozens of Detroit residents are now homeowners Tuesday.

They got the deeds to their houses today after completing the Detroit Land Bank's "Occupied Buy Back Program."

"I'm so happy I finally bought myself a house," said Anthony Wells. 

Wells is just one of many new happy home owners in Detroit. On Tuesday more than 70 people living in houses - previously owned by the land bank - completed a buy-back program and received the deeds to their homes at a special ceremony.

"I've just been working for 30 years and I retired," Wells said. "Two months later I had a stroke. Then I bought the house and it feels good to pay the house off and stick with it to buy it. I feel good about it."

Launched in 2015 "The Occupied Buy Back Program" allows eligible people living in Detroit Land Bank Authority houses to become home owners.

The program is open to people who meet a certain criterion, such as renting the property at the time of foreclosure, paying utilities at the property for at least 12 months and making significant improvements to the property.

And the feeling holding that deed, knowing you're now a home owner, is priceless.

"I'm so proud of myself," Wells said.

"I was educated here in this city and it makes sense for me to purchase and have my house in the city, so I appreciate the opportunity," said Christipher Burton.

"We strongly believe in Detroit," said a land bank official. "We strongly believe in you, we strongly believe in our neighborhoods and we're here."