DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) - Excitement filled the air at Detroit's Northwest Activity Center as residents like Alice Johnson complete the final stages of Detroit Land Bank's occupied buy-back program.
Johnson is one of 80 participants in the program who either lost their home to foreclosure, or they were living in a home that was lost to foreclosure.
"I was in a home and my landlord lost property and we didn't know it and were consistently paying rent," says Johnson.
She added, "This is the most happiest day of my life. If it weren't for program I'd be homeless."
Instead Johnson received her deed from Mayor Duggan
She joined the program, put $1,000 down, paid $100 a month, went through homeownership classes and came out today with her deed," says Mayor Duggan.
>>To learn more or take part in the program CLICK HERE on http://www.buildingdetroit.org/
Johnson says, "They lowered my taxes and it was much easier to pay than pay 800 or 900 dollars a month for rent. I couldn't afford that."
Officials say the Land Bank program is making a major difference despite some issues surrounding its demolition program.
"We made some mistakes on how fast we went on demolitions but I pushed them to move fast," says Mayor Duggan.
Mayor Duggan goes on to say the buyback program is the first of its kind and he anticipates more in the future.
"80 people today are leaving with a deed. 91 more in August will be homeowners in program and we expect to have 1,000 over next year or so."
Johnson's husband, Reginald Head says,
"There's nothing like your own. Like the song says God bless the child whose got his own. That feels real good right now."