The deadline for financially-struggling Detroit homeowners to apply for a property tax exemption for the current year was Monday, December 10. On the Friday before the deadline, Southwest Solutions joined with other organizations for an intensive workshop at the Patton Community Center in southwest Detroit to help homeowners get their paperwork together and file for the exemption. Ninety (90) homeowners who are having difficulty paying their property taxes came to the event, which provided one-on-one guidance, access to printers, notaries, and other resources.
The workshop was part of a citywide effort called “Neighbor to Neighbor” sponsored by the Quicken Loans Community Fund. Five similar workshops were held in other areas of Detroit on Friday and Saturday.
In Detroit, more than 60,000 homeowners are behind on their property taxes. Many may be eligible for a full or partial property tax exemption because of low household income or financial hardship. Too many Detroiters fail to take advantage of the exemption and thus put themselves at risk of losing their homes because of tax foreclosure. Homeowners who fail to pay taxes for three years are subject to foreclosure by Wayne County. Studies shows that 80% of the houses in Detroit that enter into tax foreclosure eventually become blighted. Tax foreclosure not only causes housing instability and the loss of wealth for families, it contributes to the deterioration of neighborhoods. Creating a “city for all” and revitalizing neighborhoods requires solving the rampant problem of tax foreclosure.
Noni Kimbrough has been in her home since 2009 and is filing for an exemption for the first time.
“I’ve worked my whole life, but this year I’ve been unable to work because my kidneys are failing and I started dialysis,” Noni said. “But despite everything, I feel blessed and I have faith that everything will work out. I recently learned that I’m now on the transplant list. I am happy about this workshop because I need the help until I’m able to resume working. I’m hopeful that I’ll get the exemption.”
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