We are in the first round of Wayne County’s annual tax foreclosure auction. Online bidding continues over the next few days and closings begin on Monday.
Officials say programs in place have helped decrease the number of homes that go into tax foreclosure. But advocates for ending the foreclosure auction say there are still thousands of people who stand to lose their homes this year. They say most homes in the auction are occupied by families, and once a home is sold in auction it’s much more likely to become vacant and blighted, destabilizing neighborhoods.
“Bottom line is this has not been a great way to collect taxes,” says Ted Phillips, executive director of the United Community Housing Coalition.
Related from Detroit Today: “What Are Some Solutions to Tax Foreclosure Problem in Wayne County, SE Michigan?”
Phillips says the county only collects 10-15 cents on the dollar at the auction, and the properties are often sold to investors that are also not paying their taxes either.
But he says the city of Detroit is putting more emphasis on the first right of refusal process, which helps save homes for many people.
“Certainly there has been progress,” says Phillips. “The numbers are down… there’s about 400 owner-occupied homes that are up for auction right now, and about the same number of tenant occupied homes, and about 1500 vacant homes. Still though, that’s a lot of people who are in jeopardy of losing their home.”
“We know a lot of people are falling through the cracks.”
To hear more from Phillips on Detroit Today, click on the audio player above.