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Detroit — An emergency people’s assembly was held Saturday for city residents who live in the many of the 62,000 homes scheduled for foreclosure at the end of the month.

The event, at Christ Church Detroit on East Jefferson, called for a halt to the mass foreclosure on March 31, because 37,000 of the houses are occupied.

Jerry Goldberg of Moratorium Now Coalition, one of the groups organizing the event, said a state of emergency should be called just as if a natural disaster hit the city.

“Our message today is to act in a collective way,” Goldberg said. “That is how the rights of people have been won. That’s how we won a moratorium on foreclosures in the ‘30s.”

KaClarence Haynes said it is a struggle to keep up the house he purchased three year ago. He and his girlfriend, are trying to make repairs that should have been addressed by past owners of the home. And they are being charged 1.5 percent every 30 days for back property taxes.

Haynes said while he is on a back taxes payment plan the city doesn’t make it easy.

“If you go online the payment must be paid with a credit card,” he said. “Not a pre-paid card or even a debit card. I paid $890 the other day and the total was $921. Just to use my card it cost me almost $40.”

Beginning in 2010 Rebecca Fritz, 35, lived in three homes.

Two of the homes went into foreclosure because the owners didn’t pay the property taxes. And while in the third home Fritz said she was paying rent to a man she later learned didn’t own the property.

Times have been tough, said Fritz, who got out of an abusive relationship with the father of her five children. After pressing charges against him, she then found herself living in a shelter.

In November 2013 she made a decision to find a home for her family. She admits she is now squatting in a home but said her neighbors are happy to see it occupied by someone other than drug addicts.

Fritz said she was shocked when in January Mayor Mike Duggan paid so much attention to a group of people who were living in an encampment off east Jefferson Avenue, formed during the North American International Auto Show, when thousands may become homeless on March 31.

“When you are in these situations I encourage any one who is on the streets, and their fingers and toes are hurting from the cold, go into one of those houses standing empty and do what you need to survive,” said Fritz.

UWatson@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2613

How to get involved

For information about the Emergency People’s Assembly call Moratorium Now Coalition at (313) 680-5508 or visit moratorium-mi.org

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