Dec 032017
 

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017

7 PM

5920 Second Ave., Detroit, MI 48219


Where do we go from here? After a very successful meeting on October 26, called “World Conference of Mayors: Real Detroiters Speak OUT!”, https://www.facebook.com/events/748951851959622/, we need to discuss future plans for this emergent coalition of Detroiters fighting for a new future. How do we resist the neo-liberal agenda that is being imposed on our city?

Please visit the Facebook group that emerged from the meeting: World Conference of Mayors: Real Detroiters Speak Out, https://www.facebook.com/groups/313614759108235/.

Sponsored by Moratorium NOW! Coalition, Michigan Peoples Defense Committee (MPDN), Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI), Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA), Workers World Party

 December 3, 2017  Posted by at 9:01 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Nov 272017
 

Ways to reduce property taxes and fees for qualified low-income residents and seniors in the City of Detroit

Poverty Tax Exemption

Low-income homeowners in Detroit may have their property taxes reduced or waived. The City of Detroit offers a “Poverty Tax Exemption” on an annual basis but you must apply for it. Applications for this year must be submitted before December 12, 2017. The PTE is not retroactive, but it should be.

Applications are available online at www.detroitmi.gov/How-Do-I/Appeal/Property-Assessment-Forms or from the Detroit Citizens Board of Review located at

Coleman A. Young Municipal Center
2 Woodward Avenue
Room 824
Detroit, MI 48226

For assistance, see the United Community Housing Coalition, located at 2727 2nd Ave, Suite 313, Detroit, MI 48201. Their phone number is 313-963-3310 and website is www.uchcdetroit.org.   The UCHC offers counseling assistance on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9am-12pm.  Also, visit www.fromclosuredetroit.com. (This is not misspelled.)

Senior Citizen Solid Waste Discount

The application period is July 1 thru September 15.  The City of Detroit may provide a discount to homeowners who are at least 65 years old and have a household gross income below $40,000.00. Effective July 1, 2009, the Solid Waste Fee is $240.00. Qualifying seniors will receive a discount of $120.00. For more info, visit www.detroitmi.gov/How-Do-I/File/Senior-Citizen-Solid-Waste-Discount-Information.

Veterans with Disabilities

Veterans with disabilities may also qualify for an exemption and more. Please visit www.detroitmi.gov/How-Do-I/Appeal/Property-Assessment-Forms for details.

Disclaimer

The position of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition is that the Hardest Hit Fund should be used to assist all residential occupants facing the loss of their homes through tax foreclosures and water shutoffs. The Hardest Hit Fund was created by the U.S. Department of Treasury through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to assist states such as Michigan that had been particularly hard hit by the economic and housing market downturn that began in 2007. The Hardest Hit Fund program was created in 2010 to assist states with their foreclosure prevention and neighborhood stabilization efforts.  Michigan received over $761 million to operate its Hardest Hit Fund programs. Unfortunately, since 2014, a majority of the remaining funds have been redirected toward blight removal in Detroit, resulting in criminal investigations of the Gilbert/Duggan Detroit Blight Authority and more foreclosures. Moratorium NOW! Coalition demands that the funds be redirected to their original purpose which was to help residents in danger of losing their homes.

To join our efforts, please attend the weekly organizers meetings of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition every Monday at 7 PM at 5920 2nd Ave., Detroit, MI 48202.

Download leaflet: Ways to reduce property taxes and fees for qualified low-low income residents and seniors

Hardest Hit Funds Fact Sheet

 November 27, 2017  Posted by at 10:26 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Oct 192017
 

During the final week of October, 2017, the World Conference of Mayors is scheduled to meet in the city of Detroit. The conference taking place at MGM Grand Casino Hotel is designed to promote Detroit as a model for “urban revitalization.”

We invite all organizations in the City involved in the struggles against water shut-offs, foreclosures and evictions, police brutality, against union busting and for a living wage, immigrant rights, full access for people with disabilities, quality public education, deprivation of voting rights, and who are fighting racism, sexism and LGBTQ oppression in all its forms, to join the World Conference of Mayors, Real Detroiters Speak Out alternative People’s Summit that week at St. Matthew’s/St. Joseph’s Church at 8850 Woodward Ave.

The Speak-Out will fully expose the role of the banks, multi-national corporations, the business media and political comprador elites in perpetuating the super-exploitation of the people of Detroit. The majority African American, working class and poor residents of the city are being totally left out of the so-called “rebirth of Detroit.”

Detroit’s “rebirth” has meant that the public revenues generated through the process of taxation are being funneled to the capitalist corporations.

The People’s Summit will discuss a real agenda for the rebirth and rebuilding of our neighborhoods and communities. Real development in Detroit would focus on the rehabilitation of neighborhoods, the guaranteeing of jobs, housing, water services, heating and quality education for all. The banks who are responsible contributed for the destruction of our neighborhoods must be held accountable through criminal prosecution and the payment of reparations.

At the Real Detroiters Speak Out we will invite the mayors from across the world to come and hear from the people of Detroit. We will offer tours of our neighborhoods so the invitees will get an opportunity to see the corporate disaster imposed on the people of Detroit, and what the future holds for every major city if the banks get their way.

Join in building the Real Detroiters Speak Out during the World Conference of Mayors. Please let us know if your organization would like to be listed as an endorser of this event. Please respond via telephone to 313-319-0870 – or by email to apcjerry@gmail.com

Initial conveners:

Moratorium Now! Coalition; Michigan Welfare Rights Organization; Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA); Citizens with Challenges; Vanessa G. Fluker, anti-foreclosure attorney; Defenders of Truth & Justice organization,; Rev. W. J. Rideout III; Jean Vortkamp, co-producer, Looting Detroit; Elena Herrada, Tawanna Simpson, Detroit Public School Board in Exile; Reverend Edward Pinkney; Monica Patrick, We the People of Detroit; International Action Center; Detroit Green Party; Friends of Detroit City Airport; Beverly Kindle Walker; Detroit People’s Task Force, Inc.; Black Woman, Inc.; Defend Affordable Ypsi; Detroit/Michigan National Lawyers Guild chapter; Employment Research Associates; Juvenile Lifers without Parole Support Committee; Freedom Road Socialist Organization; Workers World Party.

Schedule of events

Monday, October 23rd: Birthday Bash for Rev. Pinckney
https://www.facebook.com/events/1131055143697222
5920 Second Ave
7pm – 9pm

Tuesday, October 24th: Outreach
MGM Grand Casino & Hotel
1777 3rd Ave
11am – 3pm

Wednesday, October 25th: People’s Tour of Detroit
More info TBA

Thursday, October 26th: World Conference of Mayors: REAL DETROITERS SPEAK OUT
8850 Woodward Avenue
6pm – 9pm

Visit the Facebook event page for the latest schedule of activities for the week of Oct. 23 – Oct. 26.

 October 19, 2017  Posted by at 10:12 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Sep 262017
 

Friday, October 13

11 AM – 6 PM

5920 Second Ave., Detroit, MI

Fried Fish Dinner for $12
Includes 2 Fish Filets, Spaghetti, Coleslaw, Green Beans, Bread, AND Dessert

5920 Second Ave, the activist building, needs a new roof.

If you have been at a meeting in the last few years you know what we talking about – there are leaks everywhere. But we still continue to meet and plan the next actions for Justice.

We have had two projects to date to raise funds for the Roof repairs. We have raised enough funds to start the work. But we need more funds to complete the roof repairs.

Please support our Roof Repair Fundraiser, October 13, from 11 am – 6 pm. Each $12 meal will include 2 Fish Filets, Spaghetti, Coleslaw, Green Beans, Bread, AND Dessert. Call 313-680-5508 for more information.

Dinners can be ordered in advance, over the phone, or purchased on October 13th.

 September 26, 2017  Posted by at 10:02 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Sep 042017
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DEMONSTRATION TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2017, 12 NOON, WAYNE COUNTY TREASURER’S OFFICE, 400 MONROE, DETROIT, MI 48226

DEMAND THAT THE AUCTION OF TAX FORECLOSED HOMES BE SUSPENDED IN LIGHT OF MSHDA AGREEING TO ENTERTAIN PROPOSAL TO USE HARDEST HIT FUNDS TO PAY DELINQUENT TAXES ON 1400 OCCUPIED HOMES.

CONTACT:  313-319-0870, MORATORIUM NOW! COALITION

The demonstration Tuesday, September 5, will demand that Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree suspend the auction of 3100 homes, including 1400 occupied homes, scheduled to begin September 5 and extend into October.  The suspension will give time for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, MSHDA, to seek federal approval to a plan to amend the Step Forward program to allow Hardest Hit Funds to pay delinquent property tax bills of any occupied homes pulled from the auction by the City of Detroit and/or Wayne County treasurer exercising their right of first refusal to claim the homes.

At a meeting between the head of MSHDA and the administrator of the Helping Hardest Hit program and representatives of the Coaliton to Stop Unconstitutional Tax Foreclosures on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, MSHDA agreed to have Coalition members draft an amendment to the Step Forward rules to allow for Hardest Hit Funds to be used for the city of Detroit and./ or Wayne County to pay back property tax bills if they exercise right of first refusal on the 1400 occupied homes facing auction and then eviction starting next week. MSHDA which oversees the Hardest Hit Funds said they would submit this proposal for approval by Treasury.

At the meeting it came out that only 193 Wayne County families, of the thousands who have faced tax foreclosure this year, had received benefits from the Hardest Hit fund.  This is a result of the Step Forward regulations being out of step with the reality of those facing the loss of their homes in Wayne County and especially Detroit.  It also came out that there are currently $130 million in unspent Hardest Hit Funds available to keep families from losing their homes.  In contrast, only $12 million is needed to pay the delinquent bills of the 1400 families scheduled to see the homes they occupy auctioned off over the next month, and then find themselves facing eviction.

Under Michigan law, either Wayne County or the City of Detroit can exercise their right  of first refusal to pull occupied homes out of the auction.  The agreement by MSHDA to pursue using Hardest Hit funds to pay the delinquent taxes on these homes offers a practical way forward to save 1400 more families from being thrown into the street.  This plan would actually bring money into the treasuries of Wayne County and Detroit, who stand to recover pennies on what are owed in delinquent taxes through the auction.

Once the delinquent taxes are paid, the occupants will have the opportunity to pursue poverty tax exemptions to which are entitled and have their home assessments reset to the true market value in conformity with the Michigan constitution.

 September 4, 2017  Posted by at 2:47 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Sep 032017
 

DEMONSTRATION – Tuesday, Sept. 5, Noon

Wayne County Treasurer Office
400 Monroe, Detroit (in Greektown)

The people of Detroit scored a significant concession in the meeting with MSHDA on Wednesday, August 30. They agreed to have the Coaliton to Stop Tax Foreclosures draft an amendment to the Step Forward rules to allow for Hardest Hit Funds to be used for the city of Detroit and./ or Wayne County to pay back property tax bills if they expercise right of first refusal on the 1400 occupied homes facing auction and then eviction starting next week. MSHDA which oversees the Hardest Hit Funds said they would submit this proposal for approval by Treasury. Join the demonstration Tuesday to demand the auction be stopped while we get this practical proposal to save 1400 families from eviction implemented.

COME TO THE IMPORTANT DEMONSTRATION THIS TUESDAY. IF WE KEEP UP THE PRESSURE WE WILL WIN THIS FIGHT!

 September 3, 2017  Posted by at 2:39 am Uncategorized No Responses »
Aug 232017
 

DEMONSTRATION – Tuesday, Sept. 5, Noon

Wayne County Treasurer Office
400 Monroe, Detroit (in Greektown)

SAVE DETROIT HOMES – REMOVE ALL OCCUPIED HOMES FROM THE TAX FORECLOSURE AUCTION THIS FALL

Use the City’s or County’s “Right to First Refusal” in Combination with the Hardest Hit Funds to Save Occupied Homes

Facebook-Event

 August 23, 2017  Posted by at 8:32 am Uncategorized No Responses »
Jul 182017
 

Use the City’s or County’s “Right to First Refusal” in Combination with the Hardest Hit Funds to Save Occupied Homes

We demand that:

  1. The City of Detroit or Wayne County exercise its “Right to First Refusal” and remove all occupied homes from the upcoming auction of tax foreclosed properties.
  2. The City or County, in coordination with MSHDA, purchase the occupied homes using the Hardest Hit Funds.
  3. The City or County returns ownership of the occupied homes to the occupants. In the case of occupied rental or investor-owned homes, ownership would be transferred to the occupants.

Currently, the City uses the Hardest Hit Funds in a very inefficient and ineffective manner to fight blight by only tearing down blighted homes in Federally approved areas of the City.  The most effective way to fight blight is to keep homes occupied. This proposal does that. In addition, once the homes are purchased using the HHF, the City budget receives the bulk of funds or has the chargebacks from Wayne County reduced.  The City could then spend the funds on blight removal in any area of the City, not just the Federally approved areas. This is a “win-win” for residents impacted by foreclosures and the City of Detroit.

Hardest Hit Funds Fact Sheet

Leaflet – side 1

Leaflet – side 2 (UCHC outreach)

For a list of candidates supporting or opposing these demands, click here.

Endorsements:

Moratorium NOW! Coalition    Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA)
National Action Network- Detroit Chapter    Tricycle Collective    Charlevoix Villages Association
Vanessa Fluker, People’s Anti-foreclosure Attorney    Detroit Eviction Defense
We the People of Detroit    Michigan Peoples Defense Network (MPDN)

Continue reading »

 July 18, 2017  Posted by at 10:42 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Jul 172017
 

Tuesday, Aug. 1 , 10:15 am to 10:45 am

Michigan Court of Appeals
3020 W. Grand Blvd., 14th floor,  Detroit, MI 48202

A press conference and picket will be held prior to the 11am hearing on the ACLU lawsuit challenging the illegal and unconstitutional tax assessments and foreclosures occurring within the City of Detroit. The press conference will feature Detroit residents facing foreclosure or struggling to receive the poverty tax emption, and as well as their neighbors and supporters organizing to stop the foreclosures

Following the press conference, at 10:45am, supporters will pack the court. The ACLU asks that we WEAR RED SHIRTS to visibly, but quietly, show our support of the lawsuit.

From the ACLU:

The August 1st Hearing

• In late 2016, Judge Colombo found that our claim against Wayne County was based on a good legal theory but that he did not have the authority to hear the case. Instead, in his view, the proper court to hear the case was the Michigan Tax Tribunal. We disagree. So we appealed his decision to a higher court, the Michigan Court of Appeals.

• On August 1, 2017, the higher court is going to hear our appeal. We will be asking the court to give Judge Colombo the authority to hear the lawsuit against Wayne County because the lower court is the proper place to hear this type of federal discrimination claim.

• What you will see at the hearing is a panel of three judges who will ask the lawyers on both sides of the case questions about the case.

• If we succeed, the case against Wayne County is alive again and we can continue to pursue relief for Detroit homeowners in the lower court.

• Ultimately, we are hoping to stop the unconstitutional tax foreclosures until Wayne County conducts proper and lawful tax assessments on those properties.

History of Lawsuit

• In June 2016, The ACLU of Michigan, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. and lawyers from Covington & Burling LLP filed a lawsuit against the Wayne County Treasurer, Wayne County and the City of Detroit. We sued to challenge the illegal and racially discriminatory tax foreclosures that have hit African-American homeowners the hardest in recent years.

• The lawsuit was brought on behalf of seven Detroit homeowners and a coalition of neighborhood associations from throughout the City including the Historic Russell Woods-Sullivan Area Association, the MorningSide Community Organization, the Oakman Boulevard Community Association and Neighbors Building Brightmoor.

• We sued Wayne County because they foreclosed on thousands of homes despite knowing that their property taxes were illegally high. The foreclosures are a type of illegal housing discrimination that has a larger impact on people of color. As a result, this was a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act because racial discrimination in housing is prohibited by the Act.

• In Michigan, homeowners must pay property taxes based on the fair market value of their homes. Cities are required to determine this value by an annual assessment of property values. Homeowners in Detroit and other predominately African-American Wayne County municipalities, however, have been taxed as if their homes were worth much more than their fair market value.

• Most notably, the City of Detroit did not reduce property assessments to reflect declining home values in 2008. But, the lawsuit also alleges that Detroit had failed to conduct meaningful property assessments even before home prices fell dramatically in 2008.

 July 17, 2017  Posted by at 11:00 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Jul 022017
 

Celebrate with Rev. Pinkney

Saturday, July 8, 2017

2 PM – 6 PM

St. Matthews St. Joseph Episcopal Church
8850 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI

Food and Entertainment – Donation suggested

Rev. Edward Pinkney was freed from prison on June 13, 2017, after an unjust conviction and incarceration. Join supporters at a celebration where we welcome Rev. Pinkney home.

Welcome Home Fund

Supporters are raising money for a Welcome Home Fund for Rev. Edward and Dorothy Pinkney. The goal is to raise $3000 by July 8.  Please mail your donation to Moratorium NOW Coalition, 5920 Second Ave., Detroit, MI 48202.  Make the check or money order out to Moratorium NOW Coalition and write Rev. Pinkney in the memo line.   Or, if you prefer, you may donate online at https://www.youcaring.com/pinkney_welcome_home_fund.

Latest news:

Rev. Pinkney is free!

By David Sole, posted on June 13, 2017
http://www.workers.org/2017/06/13/rev-pinkney-is-free/#.WU3DDFGQzDc

Exactly two years and six months after being locked up, Michigan’s political prisoner, the Rev. Edward Pinkney, walked out from behind the bars. His spouse, Dorothy Pinkney, waited for him at the Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights, Mich., on the morning of June 13, ready to drive him to their home in the small town of Benton Harbor in southwest Michigan.

Two nights before his release, Workers World asked Pinkney whether he was “packed and ready to go.” He replied, “I’ve been packed and ready for two-and-a-half years.” Those familiar with the case cannot believe that this 68-year-old African-American community leader could have been charged, tried and convicted on no evidence.

Pinkney faced a white judge, a white prosecutor and an all-white jury on frame-up charges of having altered some dates on a recall petition against Benton Harbor’s then-mayor, James Hightower. There were no confession, no forensic evidence and no witnesses against him.

All activists are threatened by his conviction, which was upheld last year by the Michigan Court of Appeals. That court ruled that Rev. Pinkney had the greatest animosity to the mayor and therefore could be assumed to have committed the crime. The case is now headed for the Michigan Supreme Court. Even if that court were to exonerate Rev. Pinkney, they cannot give him back the hard 30 months he has already served.

Detroit area supporters are holding a “Welcome Home Rev. Pinkney” dinner on Saturday, July 8, at which Rev. Pinkney will speak. It will be at the St. Matthew – St. Joseph Church, 8850 Woodward Ave., Detroit, and will run from 2 to 5 p.m.

 July 2, 2017  Posted by at 11:08 pm Uncategorized No Responses »