Social Crisis in Detroit: Wayne County Facing Massive Tax Foreclosure Affecting Home Owners and Small Businesses
Despite claims of a “revitalized” city hundreds of thousands remain imperiled
A broad based coalition of Detroit organizations is fighting for a moratorium on property tax foreclosures where 62,000 homes, apartment buildings, small businesses and lots are slated for seizure by Wayne County. Another 15,000 are also scheduled for the broader county.
In addition, tens of thousands more will revert back to foreclosure since they were not able to keep up with payment plans established last year. The Wayne County Treasurer’s office has encouraged people to come forward and sign agreements to make payments in installments.
However, with declining properties being over assessed by the city government and at least 40 percent of Detroit residents living in poverty, it is highly unlikely that these agreements will be honored.
One woman living with disabilities told this writer on conditions of anonymity that she receives $769 per month in benefits. Nonetheless, in a desperate attempt to stave off homelessness, she signed an agreement with the Treasurer’s office to pay $500 a month until her delinquent property taxes are paid off.
A State of Emergency Should Be Declared
On Thurs. March 19, members of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition, Detroit Eviction Defense and others took the issue to the Wayne County Commissioners meeting demanding an immediate halt to the foreclosures. Over a dozen people testified before the elected legislative body placing a human face on the crisis.
Many households have had delinquent water bills placed on their property taxes. Oftentimes the water bills are in excess of the tax payments that are in arrears.