Billionaire and co-founder of Quicken Loans Dan Gilbert is leading an effort to write off the property tax debt of thousands of Detroit residents. The Gilbert Family Foundation and the Rocket Community Fund are pledging $ 500 million over the next 10 years to improve neighborhoods in the city.
The initial commitment of $ 15 million to write off tax debt is expected to help 20,000 households this year. Officials of nonprofits say homeowners have an average tax debt of $ 2,500.
“We have learned along the way that there are systemic and generational issues that require considerable resources as well as time and effort to be properly addressed. “- Jay Farner, CEO rocket companies
“It was very clear to us that it was property taxes that caused the majority of the scourge in Detroit and that the vast majority of citizens at one point were in tax foreclosure, with interest and penalties that the debt continued to accumulate, in some cases more than what they owed on the mortgage. And people were just leaving the houses because they couldn’t afford it anymore ”, Gilbert Recount SCS News this morning in an interview announcing the $ 500 million initiative and talking about her recovery from her stroke in 2019.
“We still have 20,000 people below this poverty line who still have [to pay] taxes. And what the Gilbert family are saying today is that for those with very low incomes, they will pay the rest and give them a fresh start.
Wayne County Director Warren Evans said the initiative would help address the housing crisis in the area.
“You have seizures in progress, and then you have the loss of population that comes from the seizures. You have a reduction in the value of the surrounding properties and the cycle only gets worse.
Evans says that in the years since the Great Recession, about one in four homes in Detroit has been foreclosed. After the process was paused at the start of the pandemic, foreclosures in Wayne County are expected to resume later this year.
The Rocket Community Fund will also invest $ 150 million of the global commitment of $ 500 million to continue to focus on its core areas of focus of housing, employment and public life. The fund says its Neighbor to Neighbor program helped reduce the number of homes participating in the 2019 Wayne County Tax Auction by 94% compared to 2015. The number of owner-occupied homes that participated in the bid – 250 – was the lowest for over 15 years.
“We have learned along the way that there are systemic and generational issues that require considerable resources as well as time and effort to be resolved properly,” says Jay Farner, CEO rocket companies. “Our team members have come together with our community partners to address the issue of housing and tax crime here in Detroit.”