DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Members of Detroit’s City Council are expected to rally with some activist groups seeking to keep owner-occupied homes from tax foreclosure auctions and ending water service shutoffs to customers behind on their bills.
Councilwoman Mary Sheffield’s office says the rally will be held Wednesday afternoon outside the Wayne County Treasurer’s office.
Protesters also want to see a larger percentage of federal Hardest Hit Fund dollars used to prevent tax foreclosures. The fund was created in 2010 to provide $7.6 billion in targeted aid to 18 states and the District of Columbia deemed hardest hit by the economic and housing market downturn.
More than 14,000 tax-foreclosed properties in Wayne County — including Detroit — were scheduled for auction this year.
Last year, about 28,000 homes were foreclosed on throughout the county. The treasurer’s office said that the county is bound by state law to auction foreclosed properties.
“I am doing everything within my power to help people be successful with making their payments and keeping their homes,” Treasurer Eric Sabree said in a statement. “We have community outreach programs, financial counseling and interest rate reduction programs. We also make proactive calls to delinquent homeowners and have implemented a new kiosk technology to make it easier and more convenient for people to make their taxes. Our goal is for all taxpayers enrolled in plans to become current on their taxes and continue to help reduce the foreclosure rates.”
A lawsuit seeking to prevent the auctioning of tax-foreclosed homes is pending.
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