The Quicken Loans Community Fund has unveiled findings from its 2018 Neighbor to Neighbor initiative, a program focused on door-to-door outreach of the 60,000 Detroit families living in tax-delinquent properties. Canvassing was completed by the Quicken Loans Community Fund and 32 community partners through grants provided by the Quicken Loans Community Fund.
According to the report, a record 4,316 families living in at-risk properties were able to avoid the 2018 Wayne County tax foreclosure auctions because of the efforts of the Quicken Loans Community Fund and its Neighbor to Neighbor partners. In fact, Detroit reached a 14-year low for overall property tax foreclosures. Additionally, through the Neighbor to Neighbor program, and property tax exemption workshops, there were nearly 5,750 full exemptions provided to Detroit homeowners in 2018.
“Tens of thousands of Detroit residents have been displaced by property tax foreclosure, and on top of the human impact, many of these homes fall into disrepair and become blighted, perpetuating a harmful cycle that destroys vibrant communities,” says Laura Grannemann, vice president of Strategic Investments for the Quicken Loans Community Fund. “By working with community partners, we are stabilizing housing in Detroit, preventing future blight and helping homeowners and occupants find sustainable, long-term solutions for their property tax burdens.”
During last year’s outreach, 21 percent of homeowners were unaware their property was behind on property taxes. Even more astonishing, 61 percent of renters in tax-delinquent properties were unaware of the home’s tax status. Through Neighbor to Neighbor, all residents are given information about property tax foreclosure and how to connect to resources.
“As Detroit comes back, we need to do everything we can to make sure those who stayed in our city through good times and bad are able to stay in their homes,” says Mayor Mike Duggan. “We are seeing real progress in tax foreclosure reductions that impact all of our neighborhoods, and through programs like Neighbor to Neighbor, we will continue this important work in close partnership with the community.”
The Quicken Loans Community Fund has launched its 2019 effort, promising to reach all city residents living in a property behind on its property taxes. The company, and 24 community partners, will canvass every Detroit property with delinquent property taxes from now until August. Through the effort, underwritten by the Quicken Loans Community Fund, canvassers will educate at-risk owner-occupants and non-deed holders alike about property tax exemptions, the Make It Home program, the process for challenging assessments, how to check property taxes and the City of Detroit’s newly created “Plan Ahead” program allowing property taxes to be paid via a payment plan.
“Thanks to the grant provided by the Quicken Loans Community Fund, we have the opportunity to canvass our neighborhoods and educate our residents about a myriad of programs that provide housing stability,” says Raquel Garcia, director of Housing and Special Projects for Global Detroit, a Neighbor to Neighbor partner with multilingual canvassers who ensure equality of access. “Property tax foreclosure affects thousands of Detroiters every year, but through Neighbor to Neighbor, we are achieving meaningful reductions resulting in permanent solutions.”
By visiting every tax-delinquent property, canvassers aim to prevent more than 11,000 properties facing immediate risk of tax foreclosure from entering this fall’s tax foreclosure auction, including 4,371 currently occupied homes, through connecting them with the various resources and programs they are eligible for.
“Shockingly, through Neighbor to Neighbor, we found that 75 percent of homeowners behind on property taxes should have been able to obtain a complete property tax exemption based on their income,” Grannemann continues. “We are committed to ensuring that every Detroit resident has access to the tools they need.”
To educate residents on these annual exemptions, more than 50 property tax exemption workshops have been held by partner non-profits through grants provided by the Quicken Loans Community Fund this year, with over 125 more workshops scheduled.
Delores Orr served as a Neighbor to Neighbor canvasser with the Eastside Community Network, but, like many Detroiters, she fell into hardship and was struggling to pay her property taxes. Through the information obtained as part of her training, she was able to receive a full property tax exemption for 2018.
“Through Neighbor to Neighbor, I learned my house was one of the homes that was tax-delinquent, and I was surprised by that,” says Orr, a homeowner in Detroit. “I didn’t think I would qualify for the property tax exemption, but thanks to the Quicken Loans Community Fund’s program, I applied, collected all the information I needed, and I was approved. I was shocked.”
The 2019 Neighbor to Neighbor community partners include:
- Black Caucus Foundation
- Bridging Communities
- Central Detroit Christian
- Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance
- Courville Street Block Club
- Detroit Association of Black Organizations
- Detroit Association of Women’s Clubs
- Global Detroit
- Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation
- Hickory on the Move Block Club
- In Memory of Community Garden of Warrendale
- MACC Development
- Mansfield 4-H
- Midwest Civic Council of Block Clubs
- Osborn Neighborhood Alliance
- Russell Woods Association
- Southwest Economic Solutions
- United Community Housing Coalition
- Urban Neighborhood Initiatives
- Villages CDC
- Woodbridge Neighborhood Development Corp.
- Yorkshire Wood
The key findings of the 2018 Neighbor to Neighbor report can be found below, and the entire report can be viewed here.
2018 Neighbor to Neighbor Report Key Findings
The number of tax delinquent Detroit homes hasn’t changed much in 5 years.
- In 2014, there were 171,000 homes with no tax issues, and 69,000 that were tax-delinquent.
- In 2018, there were 166,000 homes with no tax issues, and 60,000 that were tax-delinquent.
By the numbers:
- Of 58,933 homes in tax delinquency visited in Neighbor to Neighbor, 45,349 (77 percent) were occupied, 11,216 (19 percent) were vacant, and 2,368 (4 percent) were unclear.
- Of the occupied homes, residents at 24,089 (53 percent) spoke with Neighbor to Neighbor canvassers. Owners comprised 13,146 (54 percent) of the contacts. Renters comprised 8,345 (35 percent) of the contacts. Others, including land contract holders, heirs and next-of-kin, comprised 2,598 (11 percent) of the contacts.
- Of the 6,948 owners who responded to income-based questions, 5,222 (75 percent) were potentially eligible for a property tax exemption.
- Of 3,732 renters who answered the question, 2,919 (78 percent) stated they would be interested in owning the home they are renting if it went into tax foreclosure.
- Of the 6,192 homeowners who answered, 4,631 (75 percent) stated they would prefer a monthly payment option to pay the property taxes.
- Of the 6,886 homeowners who answered, 5,473 (79 percent) were aware of their tax delinquency, 802 (12 percent) were not aware and 611 (9 percent) were unsure.
- Of the 3,842 renters who answered, 2,346 (61 percent) were unaware of the property owner’s tax delinquency, 1,052 (27 percent) were aware and 444 (12 percent) were unsure.
Conclusions and Action
Residents Lack Information on Tax Delinquency and Helpful Programs
The Quicken Loans Community Fund has relaunched Neighbor to Neighbor in 2019 and will plan to help recanvass the city in 2019 and beyond.
Homeowners Need More Opportunities to Get Property Tax Exemptions
The Quicken Loans Community Fund is sponsoring monthly workshops with 16 community organizations across Detroit where residents can get help with their PTE applications. Text INFO to 85274 or call 211 to find out more. The Quicken Loans Community Fund is also working with the City of Detroit to develop an online PTE application.
Erase Tax Debt for Vulnerable Homeowners
The Quicken Loans Community Fund is developing research and analysis to show that making the PTE retroactive would not negatively impact City of Detroit and Wayne County finances and to demonstrate its potential impact.
Paying for Property Taxes Monthly Would Be Easier
The Quicken Loans Community Fund is working with the City of Detroit to promote the “Plan Ahead” program.
Tenants Want the First Chance to Buy Tax-Foreclosed Rental Properties
The Quicken Loans Community Fund has committed $1.3 million to cover the Right of First Refusal costs for 580 Detroit homes between 2017 and 2018, creating a revolving fund that will allow tenants to buy their homes in future years. Additionally, policy changes are necessary to ensure that landlords taking advantage of the system are penalized.
Monthly Property Tax Exemption Workshops
Grandmont Rosedale Dev. Corp.
2nd Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
19800 Grand River Ave.
(313) 387-4732 ext. 109
Black Caucus Foundation
4th Mondays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
2470 Collingwood St.
3rd Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
1400 Oakman Blvd.
Osborn Neighborhood Alliance
3rd Thursdays, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.
13560 E. McNichols Rd.
Jefferson East Inc.
2nd Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
1018 Chalmers St.
Eastside Community Network
2nd Mondays, 2 p.m.-6 p.m.
4401 Conner St.
3rd Wednesdays, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
14901 E. Warren Ave.
Central Detroit Christian
1st Thursdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
1550 Taylor St.
Detroit Association of Women’s Clubs
2nd Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
5461 Brush St.
4th Tuesdays, 2 p.m.-7 p.m.
7900 Mack Ave.
United Community Housing Coalition
1st Tuesdays, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
2727 Second Ave. Ste. 313
4th Thursdays, 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
6900 McGraw Ave.
Southwest Economic Solutions
1st Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
2826 Bagley St.
Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance
3rd Tuesdays, 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
19321 W. Chicago St.
Detroit Association of Black Orgs.
2nd Thursdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
12048 Grand River Ave.
Mansfield Farm 4-H
1st Thursdays, 12 p.m.-6 p.m.
18400 Joy Rd.
For more information, please visit www.quickenloans.org.