New beginnings for new homeowners dealing with possible tax foreclosures in Detroit

‘I went through the steps of taking the classes and, of course, saving my money to make sure I had the money to pay for the house’

There's new relief for more than 250 Detroit families living with the uncertainty that they could be kicked out of the houses they call home as possible tax foreclosure was hanging over their heads, but not anymore. It's all thanks to the Make It Home program, which allows Detroiters whose landlords failed to pay property taxes the chance to stay in their home as the owner.

DETROIT – There’s new relief for more than 250 Detroit families living with the uncertainty that they could be kicked out of the houses they call home as possible tax foreclosure was hanging over their heads, but not anymore.

It’s all thanks to the Make It Home program, which allows Detroiters whose landlords failed to pay property taxes the chance to stay in their home as the owner.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Rocket Community Fund, and United Community Housing Coalition celebrated the program Thursday (Oct. 13), announcing it has helped nearly 1,400 families since its launch in 2017.

Longtime renter and first-time homeowner Barbara Sledge is one of the program’s success stories.

“I am so happy to make this home my home,” said Sledge. “This is my big mama’s house.”

Sledge’s story started with a foreclosure notice, as she learned her landlord was years behind on property taxes for the Eden Gardens home.

“I was really afraid,” Sledge said. “Am I about to be put out of this house? I had invested so much in the home already.”

Her landlord’s loss was her gain. With the help of the Make It Home program, Sledge was on track to be the new owner.

Rocket Community Fund will further expand the repair program to provide grants and 0% interest loans to participants through an additional $1.5 million investment.

“I went through the steps of taking the classes and, of course, saving my money to make sure I had the money to pay for the house and went from there, and it kind of put a sense of relief on me,” Sledge said.

Duggan touted the success of the program and all that it has accomplished.

“I’ve been in many of these homes and to listen to children say, ‘Mom, you mean we’re not going to have to move again,’ and have the mom say very proudly, ‘We’re never moving again, we own this house,’” said Duggan. “That’s happened more than 1,300 times as a result of this program.”

Rocket Community Fund also announced it would expand the repair program to provide grants and 0% interest loans to participants through an additional $1.5 million investment.


About the Authors:

Jacqueline Francis is an award-winning journalist who joined the WDIV team in September 2022. Prior to Local 4, she reported for the NBC affiliate in West Michigan. When she’s not on the job, Jacqueline enjoys taking advantage of all the wonders Michigan has to offer, from ski trips up north to beach days with her dog, Ace.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.