Wednesday, October 5, 12 Noon
Wayne County Treasurer’s Office
400 Monroe (near Greektown, Detroit)
USE FEDERAL HARDEST HIT FUNDS TO
KEEP PEOPLE IN THEIR HOMES
NOT TEAR THEM DOWN
Since the beginning of this year, the State of Michigan received an additional $260 million in Hardest Hit Homeowner Funds from the federal government. While the stated purpose of these funds, which are the people’s share of the federal bank bailout, is to keep families in their homes, the state has allocated $231 million for blight removal, leaving only $47 million to pay off delinquent property tax bills and mortgage arrearages to keep people in their homes.
While this is outrageous, even $47 million used for tax foreclosure relief would be enough to stop the residential tax foreclosures and massive evictions as a result scheduled to happen this October. But Gov. Snyder’s MSHDA which administer the funds has made it almost impossible for families get to these funds! In contrast, according to the Special Inspector General, there is no supervision over how the blight programs are run, and now the Detroit Land Bank and Blight Taskforce are under investigation for criminal fraud for their misuse of these funds.
With these Federal funds available, there is no excuse for any Detroit resident to be losing their home as a result of a tax foreclosure, or face a water shut-off which is an effective eviction. The Wayne County Treasurer, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department and the Great Lakes Water Authority should declare immediate moratoriums (halts) on evictions resulting from tax foreclosures and water shut-offs.
The moratoriums would avert the humanitarian crisis of thousands more Detroiters losing their homes. It would allow time to ensure that adequate Hardest Hit Homeowner funds are diverted back to their intended purpose, to keep people in their homes. It would allow for a community taskforce to develop a plan to remove the bureaucratic restrictions imposed by MSHDA on release and use of these funds by families that need them the most. And it would provide time for all Detroiters to have their homes reassessed so property tax bills are based on the true value of the homes as required by law, and for all seniors and other residents to be evaluated for hardship exemptions to which they may be entitled.
Using Helping Hardest Hit Funds to pay delinquent property taxes and water bills would actually pump money into the government agencies which in turn can be used to fight blight and everything else. The banks that caused the blight through their predatory lending policies resulting in 65000 foreclosures in the late 2000’s should be made to pay for its removal.
Issued by: Moratorium Now Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions & Utility Shutoffs