This crisis stands to threaten the housing security for countless people. Not a single person should be evicted! If you are worried about being able to pay your rent in the coming months, and want advice or assistance with resisting eviction, please reach out to us. If you’re considering organizing for a rent strike or a rent freeze, please feel free to reach out to us as well.
Find us at detroitevctiondefense.org, email@example.com, 313-530-0216, and Detroit Eviction Defense on Facebook.
We are calling on Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Supreme Court to immediately order an emergency moratorium on all residential evictions and foreclosures until 60 days after the end of the state of emergency recently declared as a result of the ongoing public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or until 60 days after Michigan’s public schools are opened for regular operation, whichever is later. This moratorium must also apply to post-judgment activity such as the execution of eviction orders that have already been entered.
Tenants, mortgage borrowers, and land contract buyers who have fallen behind in regular payments during the state of emergency should be given until at least 60 days after the end of the state of emergency to pay any outstanding arrearages before facing eviction or foreclosure. Statutory redemption periods for mortgages and land contracts should be tolled until 60 days after the end of the state of emergency.
Courts across Michigan have entered administrative orders suspending all or part of their dockets, including evictions and foreclosures in some cases. But this inconsistent and piecemeal approach is insufficient to meet the demands of this crisis which call for broad and immediate statewide action.
The dramatic and unprecedented economic effects of this crisis are already being felt by residents across Michigan. Workplaces are being closed and jobs are being eliminated. It is an entirely foreseeable and understandable consequence that as a result of this crisis, many in Michigan will struggle to meet their financial obligations through no fault of their own. They should not then face eviction or foreclosure in the midst or in the immediate aftermath of a pandemic.
Allowing courts to conduct evictions and foreclosures would exacerbate an already-growing public health crisis. Residents should not have to decide between exposing themselves to crowded courtrooms or having a default judgment entered against them and losing their homes. Michiganders should not be forced to lose or change their residences at a time when experts are advising all to stay home as much as possible.
States and municipalities across the country are already taking unprecedented measures to protect the health and well-being of their residents in this time of crisis. The President of the United States has declared a national emergency and ordered the Department of Housing and Urban Development to suspend all evictions and foreclosures until April. Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan’s Supreme Court absolutely has the power to place a moratorium on all evictions and foreclosures during this crisis and its aftermath, and the unprecedented circumstances now faced by Michigan residents demand it.
Detroit Justice Center
We The People of Detroit
Detroit People’s Platform
Center for Civil Justice
Detroit Eviction Defense
Community Development Advocates of Detroit (CDAD)
Central Detroit Christian Community Development
Detroit Jews for Justice
Dream of Detroit
Good Jobs Now
Neighbors Building Brightmoor
Moratorium Now Coalition
Governor’s order below. Note that it does not include mortgage foreclosures and the time is much too short. Nothing is said regarding April rent and when it will be due.EO-2020-19-Emerg-Order-Eviction-Prohibition1
There’s the old joke about how the best way to rob a bank is to be its executive. That seems to be playing out in Wayne County, which has one of the country’s largest foreclosure auctions. Although rules ban family members from participating, it turns out that the family of the Wayne Country treasurer, Eric Sabree, has been buying the choicest properties at bargain basement prices. His wife, his sons, even a nephew and his former real estate company — U.S. Development Services — have all benefited.
A Detroit News investigation uncovered several cases where Sabree’s former real estate company — now operated by his wife — bought properties at the auction and often violate the terms by being delinquent in paying the taxes.
The Detroit News article found ten properties owned by U.S. Development Services that were three years behind in their taxes. The ten owed $29,000 in taxes as of November 2018, and the company only paid up after the Detroit News made an inquiry. It’s unclear how at least one of the ten avoided being sold in the auction.
Claiming he was not involved with these transactions, Sabree nonetheless sees the rule against family members bidding in the auction as “intrusive and unrealistic” according to News reporter Christine MacDonald and intends to allow it in the 2019 auction.
The Detroit Free Press Editorial Board called for Sabree’s dismissal, pointing to his arrogance when confronted by his family’s gain. With at least 450 occupied homes facing foreclosure in 2018, the editorial noted:
“Wayne County’s tax foreclosure auction has done untold damage to the city of Detroit. Around 150,000 Detroit homes were foreclosed for delinquent taxes between 2005 and 2017, Detroit data firm Loveland found, nearly one third of all the properties in the city. Tens of thousands of homes, some of them occupied, have been auctioned during that span. At least 10,000 of those homes shouldn’t have been foreclosed; their owners were eligible for a poverty exemption and shouldn’t have had to pay property tax at all.
“It’s not always clear why some tax-delinquent properties are foreclosed and auctioned, and others aren’t. These are decisions the treasurer’s office makes behind closed doors.”
Foreclosures have all too often resulted from inflated assessments and hiding the poverty tax exemption application from more than 35,000 homeowners who qualify. Poverty exemptions are only good for one year and are not retroactive. Homeowners who have been foreclosed on have also complained that they had not been notified and therefore had no opportunity to redeem their home.
Homes sold in the auction frequently sink into blight and taxes pile up until another foreclosure and another auction — or a demolition. The auction does not function to revitalize our communities but mostly to give speculators a chance. Given the scandal, it’s clear that the flawed and unjust system of foreclosure followed by an auction must be scrapped.
JOIN the campaign to STOP the eviction of the BROOKS family & to STOP racist displacement in our communities
Charemon Brooks & her husband bought their home in Detroit from Ms. Brooks’ father in 1996. The property at 1161 Seward has been in Ms. Brooks’ family for generations. Mr. & Ms. Brooks made their home there & raised their sons there. Mr. & Ms. Brooks moved a few years ago, but their sons, now grown, live there today.
The Wayne County Treasurer & the Wayne County Land Bank took the Brooks’ family home for $1065 in taxes owing & sold it for a song to FPJ Investments, LLC, vulture developers whose resident agent is Matthew Schenk, former Assistant Wayne County Executive who helped to set up the Wayne County Land Bank. Schenk now is making a profit by participating in the taking of the Brooks’ home. This is insider dealing, conflict of interest & corruption in the finest Wayne County government traditions.
Charemon explains gentrification in her own words: “I am all for diversity in a community, but it should happen organically & not by forcing individuals out of the community. I have watched other black families lose their property on my street & their homes have been purchased by white owners who raise the rent to $1400-1500 & move in white residents, limiting to only persons with certain economic stature to live there.”
Ms. Brooks hits it regarding this new program which allows “special” investors to buy homes going into foreclosure before the auction: “This Action before Auction Program is not for the people. It is for investors. They are Greedy investors who just care about making a profit. There is no telling how many more persons are being treated like they just don’t matter. Investors are in this community like vultures right now. I was here sticking it out when the area was not thriving.”
The Wayne County Treasurer has foreclosed on more than 73,000 families in recent years. That’s even more than the mortgage foreclosures, which have blasted through our communities lately. Charemon Brooks was behind $1065 on her taxes, which was because of a job loss & death in the family. Ms. Brooks was in a payment plan with the Treasurer & was $150 short of the 60% threshold, which would prevent foreclosure.
Mr. & Ms. Brooks planned on making that payment before the October auction. But this new program, “Action Before Auction,” allowed the Wayne County Land Bank to approve “certain” investors to buy the most valuable homes before the auction for only the total of taxes owing, which for the Brooks’ family home, amounted to a total of $3506.54. Mr. & Ms. Brooks could have paid the $150 & could have caught up the $1065 owing on 2015 taxes & if required, can come up with the $3506.54 paid by Schenk & FPJ Investments, LLC.
STOP the Wayne County Treasurer, the Wayne County Land Bank, the Wayne County Commissioners & their “special” friend & colleague Matthew Schenk & FPJ Investments, LLC from forcing the Brooks family from their home. STOP racist displacement in our communities. STOP gentrification. STOP driving working class & black families from their homes.
Call FPJ and demand they sell the Brooks family back their home, call the bureaucrats involved and tell them to do the same:
- FPJ Investments, LLC, 586-561-4913
- Wayne County Treasurer & Wayne County Land Bank Chairman, Eric Sabree, 313-224-5990
- Wayne County Commission, Alisha Bell, Chair, 313-224-0936
- Wayne County Ethics Board, 313-224-0993
Responding to Brightmoor Homes Concerned Residents and following a previously failed meeting with Regional Vice President Joe Tandy and Regional Property Manager Calvin Johnson, Mr. Spencer appeared in person to answer residents long standing grievances this past Monday February 4, 2018.
Fire Katrina and Mr Jackson! This has gone on long enough!
“Our performance is terrible, horrible” admits CEO.
Stay tuned for the upcoming BHCR Community Dinner in March and our Town Hall in April where we see just how much prestige KMG has left!