The Quicken Loans Community Fund
recently hosted a celebration for Detroiters who, through the Make It Home program, were able to purchase the homes they had previously rented, saving them from the tax foreclosure process.
Additionally, the program provides a helping hand to former homeowners who lost their properties to tax foreclosure despite being eligible for property tax exemption. The event marks the awarding of more than 220 deeds to the initiative’s latest participants, in addition to the more than 60 that received theirs last year.
The Make It Home program was piloted in 2017 after the Quicken Loans Community Fund, the United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC) and 35 other community organizations undertook the Neighbor to Neighbor program, an unprecedented campaign to reach out to all Detroit residents in tax delinquency. Through Neighbor to Neighbor, community organizations knocked on more than 60,000 doors, and as a result, the group identified renters as a particularly vulnerable population in the tax foreclosure crisis.
Despite making monthly payments, many Detroit renters are unaware that their landlord isn’t paying their property taxes or that their property is in imminent danger of tax foreclosure. To keep these renters in their homes, the Quicken Loans Community Fund, City of Detroit, and UCHC identified a creative solution to change the lives of these Detroit residents: Make It Home.
Over the last two years, the Quicken Loans Community Fund has provided $1.3 million in grant funding to UCHC. Because of this investment, the City of Detroit was able to purchase a combined 580 homes out of the Wayne County tax foreclosure auction process and transfer the properties to UCHC. Through the program, UCHC then worked with each renter or owner-occupant to sell them the property for prices ranging between $2,000 and $6,000. Additionally, all payments from Make It Home participants are kept by UCHC in order to expand the program in future years.
“As the nation’s largest mortgage lender, Quicken Loans understands the value of homeownership and the stability and pride that it brings to a family and a community,” said Bill Emerson, Vice Chairman of Quicken Loans. “The Make it Home program is a vital tool for both the city and the community, as we all work together, with incredible partners like UCHC, to make sure the needs of our neighbors in Detroit are met with creative and supportive programs.”
As Make It Home evolved from an idea to full-scale initiative, the City of Detroit was active in its implementation and committed to its success by exercising their right of first refusal, so that they could further provide housing stability in Detroit.
“Today, through the work of our community partners and the many volunteers going door to door, we have helped 300 residents not only prevent foreclosure, but move from renting to becoming homeowners, who now hold equity in their neighborhood,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “As Detroit comes back, we need to do everything in our power to retain residents and keep them in their homes.”
The United Community Housing Coalition, a non-profit organization which provides comprehensive housing assistance to Detroit’s low-income residents, has worked to preserve and expand affordable housing opportunities for low-income Detroiters since 1973.
“Prior to this partnership, the only tool we had available in these situations was the tax auction, which only provided further uncertainty to the occupants of the home,” said Ted Phillips, Executive Director of UCHC. “Now, we are able to obtain the homes from the city, administer an affordable payment plan, and provide deeds to these homes free and clear. The joy of homeownership and the freedom from anxiety over tax foreclosure would only be possible through our combined efforts with the city and the Quicken Loans Community Fund’s generous grant and support.”