Effort saves 106 Wayne Co. families from foreclosure

Nicquel Terry
The Detroit News

Detroit — Wayne County has partnered with businesses and local nonprofits to save more than 100 families from losing their homes to foreclosure.

County Treasurer Eric Sabree announced Friday the U-SNAP-BAC Non-Profit Housing Corp. raised $48,867 from donors to pay off the county residents’ 2014 delinquent taxes.

Sabree said the program was initiated after the county went after more than 2,700 people who were in jeopardy of losing their homes and owed less than $1,000 on their 2014 taxes. About 90 percent of the residents were from Detroit.

While most of those residents paid their outstanding taxes after being contacted by the county, 106 families could not afford it, Sabree said.

Sabree said those residents are facing hardships, including health issues and medical bills piling up.

“We shouldn’t let people fall if we can help them save their homes, save their properties,” Sabree said. “We are here to help them in any way we can.”

The donations will pay their 2014 taxes, allowing them to stay in their homes and receive budget guidance.

Linda Smith, executive director of U-SNAP-BAC, said some of those residents may be eligible to get help from her office with 2015 and 2016 taxes as well.

U-SNAP-BAC has worked with the county for more than 10 years helping families save their homes.

“As we know, vacant homes in our neighborhood does not stabilize the community,” Smith said. “Our goal is to make sure that for every home there is a family in every house in the city of Detroit so that we do not see the blight in our neighborhoods that we are seeing today.”

Bridgette Love of Detroit said the county’s effort will help her 84-year-mother stay in her west side home. Love’s mother fell behind on her property taxes after her husband died. He was the breadwinner for their household, Love said.

“I just feel like once a senior gets to a certain age, I really believe they should do something to help,” Love said. “Especially when they have been living in their house over 50 years. I mean, come on, give them a break.”

Captain Jay’s Fish & Chicken and Captain Jays Care & Share Foundation were among the donors, kicking in $15,359. Life for Relief and Development partnered with the foundation to donate $5,000 bringing the total contribution to $20,359.

“Today we stand together to face this common and ongoing challenge,” said Abdallah Sheik, founder and CEO of Captain Jay’s Fish & Chicken and Captain Jay’s Care & Share Foundation. “Indeed, we are blessed to have great elected officials who work hard to empower our community.”

Sabree said the county plans to explore ways to continue the program next year.