Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert recently unveiled a very ambitious goal to eliminate the property tax burden for up to 20,000 low-income homeowners in Detroit. The move is part of a $500 million investment aimed at building what the Gilbert Family Foundation is calling “economic opportunity” in Detroit neighborhoods.
“It protects his investments to help stabilize bigger parts of the city. I think he does actually care about the city.” — Louis Aguilar, BridgeDetroit
Oftentimes when social welfare issues intersect with private dollars, things can get complicated.
Listen: Louis Aguilar breaks down the $500 million investment.
He says Gilbert has to strike a balance between the investments he’s made in downtown Detroit and the city’s neighborhoods. “If he’s invested so much in Detroit in terms of its headquarters to his businesses, to have such an unequal balance between a glimmery image of a downtown and neighborhoods where it’s hard to get a mortgage, things are still struggling, it’s protecting his investment,” he says.
Aguilar notes that Detroiters have faced many issues in recent years such as the subprime mortgage crisis, which hit Detroit particularly hard.
He says he believes Gilbert is genuine about his investment in Detroit’s neighborhoods. “It protects his investments to help stabilize bigger parts of the city. I think he does actually care about the city,” says Aguilar, who also notes that he thinks it’s fair and important to ask questions about how Gilbert’s influence on tax structures might drive inequality in the city.
Web story written by Allise Hurd