Detroit Foreclosure Crisis: Report Focuses on Living Next to Abandoned Homes

Investigative reporting outfit Reveal partnered with the Detroit News and Outlier Media to look at what the effects of widespread abandonment has on residents.

FILE — Blighted homes in Detroit.

FILE — Blighted homes in Detroit.

One third of all homes in Detroit have been tax foreclosed since 2008.

It’s one of the biggest housing crises an American city has experienced in recent memory. And yet most of us don’t spend much time at all thinking about it, let alone coming up with solutions.

Outlier Media, the Detroit News, and Reveal teamed up recently to shed light on this crisis. When they looked into the tax debt owed, they found that hundreds of millions of dollars never should have been billed to Detroiters in the first place.

Blight “invites vermin and rodents, but also lead paint, asbestos exposure, and feeling your neighborhood is not being invested in.” – Katlyn Alo, Outlier Media

Katlyn Alo, Outlier Media Data Reporting and News Apps Director, looked at what it’s like living next to houses that have been foreclosed on.

“Once a property is demolished, then what?” she asks on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson.

One of the residents in Alo’s story said the thing that bothered her the most is that the roof on the house next door had fallen into her property, and that it’s an eyesore. Her daughter talked about feeling unsafe.

“There’s this structure that has had squatters in it before, it invites vermin and rodents, but also lead paint, asbestos exposure, and just general feeling that your neighborhood is not being invested in because you have this constant token of it right next door,” she says.

Alo also talks about possible solutions. She says a big problem is Detroiters not being able to get answers.

“Simple communications would be a good first step,” she says. “There’s certainly not a solution tomorrow.”

Click on the player above to hear Outlier Media’s Katlyn Alo talk about her reporting on Detroit’s foreclosure crisis.

Support the news you love.

Here at WDET, we strive to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a non-profit public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. Because you value WDET as your source of news, music, and conversation, please make a gift of support today. Even $5 helps! Donate today »


  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.