Escaping from a domestic violence relationship in 2013 and living in her van with her children, now ages 4 to 19, Rebecca found a home on the west side. As she explained to a Detroit News reporter:
“We were literally on the verge of freezing to death in my van,” she said. “So I went into a house that was wide open, and I secured it, and I started fixing it up, cleaning it up. … It’s taken four and a half years to finally get the deed to the property, and I could not be happier.”
British owner stops trying to evict & gives up house he’d left empty and dangerous
After DED helped Rebecca put pressure on English developer Peter Kirby and his management company, Kirby gave up tryng to evict her. He walked away from the property in Detroit that Rebecca had moved her family into. Since Kirby didn’t pay his taxes, she had to fight tax foreclosure in the fall of 2015.
She applied to a program open to Detroit residents who have lost their homes due to foreclosure and completed a year-long course. She paid $1,000 and saved $100 a month to put toward property taxes. In addition she, and many friends and supporters, replaced some of the windows and upgraded the plumbing. On August 14 she received the deed to her house from Mayor Duggan.
Of course she has plans to make the house self-sustaining with solar panels, rainwater collection and composting toilets.
The path to home ownership was years in the making for Rebecca, and there were many dark days. But as a mother and activist, she refused to give up!