Detroit Land Bank buyback program gives residents second chance at home ownership

Residents able to buy back homes lost to foreclosure

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®, Derick Hutchinson

DETROIT - A group of Detroit residents celebrated becoming homeowners Tuesday, thanks to an innovative program at the Detroit Land Bank.

Through the program, residents were able to buy back homes lost to foreclosure.

Detroit's Land Bank is working through a lot of issues, not the least of which is how many homes got there in the first place: foreclosures. But they've figured out how to help Detroit residents and fill vacant homes through counseling and determination by the prospective homeowners.

Many Detroiters discovered the hard way about the different kinds of bankruptcy. One comes from being broke and the other from not paying property taxes, which is vital to keeping a home.

The Land Bank started a program a couple of years ago that counseled homeowners on how to save up a year's worth of taxes, and if they did that, they could buy the house they're in from the Land Bank.

On Tuesday, retiree and stroke patient Anthony Wells said he made it through the program.

"It feels good to pay for the house and stick with it to buy it, and I feel good about it, and I'm happy," Wells said. "I don't know what do to. I'm just waiting to get my deed. I've been waiting a whole year and I am so proud of myself."

He eventually got his deed.

Land Bank Director Reginald Scott II said the program is a great help for hundreds who have paid their $1,000 and taken the counseling.

"Our mission: Return property to productive use, and when we see a number of citizens who are actually residents of the city who have been here through the lean times to be able to get the into property, it's very rewarding," Scott said.

The program is called the Occupied Buy Back Program, and 100 Detroit residents picked up their deeds Tuesday afternoon.

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