DETROIT – Many Detroit residents are finding themselves falling behind on their property taxes, and to date, that’s been a recipe for foreclosure and financial disaster.
But a new law is making it easier to get past the problem. Officials from Detroit and Wayne County have long had problems with tax foreclosures. They’ve gone to work on it, but what they’ve discovered is late payment fees, back taxes and fines are putting people on a hamster wheel, making it impossible for them to get ahead.
Republicans and Democrats from Detroit to Lansing went to work to change the law.
Shanta Jones said she was trying to raise eight children in a three-bedroom Detroit home. It’s tight quarters, but she found herself taking in relatives’ children who had no other place to go.
Jones couldn’t afford her monthly property tax bill, so she went to the city of Detroit for help, and she got it.
“My property tax bill will go from being $400 a month to under $50 a month,” Jones said.
It comes as the result of the law Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Monday, allowing for this kind of relief all across the state of Michigan. About 31,000 low-income residents in Wayne County can qualify, but Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said at the ceremony there are hoops to jump through when signing up for the Pay as You Stay program.
“Fill out that form and get it in, and if you get it in and it gets approved by the city by March 28, treasurer Eric Sabree will stop any foreclosure process right now,” Duggan said.
“I’m just so relieved I can take a day off from work and not have to worry about that missed day,” Jones said. “I can spend more time with these kids. There are no words. Thank you all.”
The income thresholds are on a sliding scale, starting at $22,000 or less for an individual or $32,000 with a family of four.