IN THE NEWS

Because of its long history and significant expertise as a comprehensive housing services provider, UCHC is often asked to provide advice to other organizations in communities across Southeast Michigan. Our work is also frequently mentioned in the news.

"Since 2002, at least 150,000 Detroit residents have lost their homes for failure to pay taxes, or because they were renting from a landlord who, unbeknownst to them, had not been paying. In May, United Community Housing Coalition tax foreclosure prevention project coordinator Michele Oberholtzer explained the larger implications of the ongoing tax foreclosure crisis as she prepared a group of volunteers to reach out to Detroit residents affected:
"What we have is a system that is losing the city and the county money. It's resulting in people losing their homes, it's leading to vacancies and evictions, it's leading to concentrated properties in very few hands (with the Land Bank now owning more than 100,000 homes)," Oberholtzer told the group gathered at the nonprofit's offices. "And we have this downhill spiral that makes it harder for everyone in the community.""

"Annie Perry sits in a bejeweled knit cap, waiting for her number to be called at a foreclosure prevention meeting. ... It’s being hosted by the nonprofit, United Community Housing Coalition. Perry, an 83-year-old Alabama native, is facing tax-foreclosure on the house she and her husband bought in Detroit in 1970. Her southern manners show through when she talks about the people she’s met with at the Wayne County Treasurer’s office. ...'Very sweet girl,” Perry says. “All of them sweet down there. I want them to know that. Everybody’s nice.'"

"Many Detroit residents gathered at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law May 20 to attend a summit on housing in Detroit aimed at educating residents about their rights and options...  [state Rep. Stephanie] Chang has proposed a bill — House Bill 4456 — that would allow local governments to regulate rents of seniors and individuals with disabilities to protect them from being charged beyond their income, although she said the future of such measures is by no means a sure thing."

"The yearly effort to save thousands of Wayne County residents from losing their homes in the tax foreclosure auction is ramping up as a key deadline approaches, and a housing advocacy group is looking for volunteers to help go door-to-door to give Detroiters the information they need to keep a roof over their heads."

"Over the next few weeks, volunteers with the United Community Housing Coalition will be canvassing homes at risk at ending up on the annual Wayne County Tax Foreclosure auction."

"The clock is ticking on homeowners in Wayne County who received tax foreclosure notices. They have until June 7 to either pay their taxes or sign up for a payment plan. ...United Community Housing Coalition is conducting door-to-door outreach and providing counseling for homes facing foreclosure."

My Detroit Cable
April 28 2017 
"Rodney Cotton and 39,000 other Detroiters are able to keep their homes thanks to the Tax Foreclosure Prevention Program."

"A Detroit developer with big plans to buy up 25 square miles of property on the city's northwest side. ... But officials at United Community Housing Coalition question how much success this plan can achieve and point to other plans that had the same mission, but came up short. ... 'Paramount Mortgage is one that comes to mind a few years ago,' said attorney Ted Phillips. '(They) got 2,000 properties in a couple year period. They got $10 million in the Detroit police and fire pension fund. And when they left a short time later, 90 percent of those were in demolition status.'"

The Detroit News
January 17 2017 
One of the ways that low-income Detroit residents could avoid foreclosure is by applying for a state property tax exemption that would reduce or eliminate property taxes, officials say, but is it a multi-step process that must be applied for every year and is underutilized by at least 12,000 residents. Now, the University of Michigan is launching a partnership with United Community Housing Coalition, the Detroit organization helping residents avoid foreclosure, as part of an initiative aimed at finding solutions to address poverty."

Yes! Magazine
December 26, 2016
There are several reasons why Detroit faces such high rates of tax foreclosure. Detroit buildings have been overassessed using outdated property values, resulting in excessively high tax bills. In addition, though the city offers a poverty exemption based on income, many are unaware of the tax break or have difficulty obtaining it. Furthermore, with some properties selling for as little as $1,000, the Detroit housing market attracts unscrupulous investors who purchase homes, milk tenants for rent, then simply walk away from their properties.  ... There have been various efforts to respond to this crisis, with groups like the United Community Housing Coalition buying some houses and deeding them back to the original families."

Michigan Radio
December 8, 2016
“(We) make sure that if there are ways to get out of foreclosure, there are various kinds of payment plans and what have you, we work with them to do that. We try to work with them so they’re not throwing money away. And what I mean by that is if somebody owes seven, eight, nine thousand dollars worth of taxes, they have no business paying two or three thousand (dollars) and losing the house anyway. So, we try common sense kind of stuff,” Phillips explained.

Crain's Detroit Business
October 16, 2016
"But Ted Phillips says otherwise. He and others say the law boots home occupants to the streets while failing to prevent buyers like Karr from purchasing more properties. The entire regulatory framework needs to be scrapped and rewritten, said the longtime executive director of the nonprofit United Community Housing Coalition."

The Huffington Post
October 6, 2016
“You’re getting taxes assessed on a $30,000 or $40,000 property value for a house that probably couldn’t sell for more than $5,000,” explained Ted Phillips, executive director of the advocacy group United Community Housing Coalition. 

Model D
October 3, 2016
"A foreclosure crisis has gripped Detroit for over a decade. And with thousands of homes for sale in this year's Wayne County Tax Auction, the crisis is far from over."

Fox 2 News - Detroit (WJBK) 
June 18, 2016
"The City of Detroit is working to help homeowners avoid foreclosure." Click to see video.

The Detroit News
June 18, 2016
"Staggering numbers of people have faced foreclosure over the past decade in Detroit, more than 50,000-60,000, following changes in 2002 to a law that resulted in massive foreclosures on homeowners, said Ted Phillips, of the United Community Housing Coalition."

Are real estate investors from Oakland County to Hong Kong driving Detroit’s blight? 
Metrotimes
May 4, 2016
"I don't need somebody coming in and saving me, and it's really incredibly offensive to say so," Phillips says. "But it's doubly offensive when people act like they're there to repopulate the city ... but what they're doing is really just another way to make a killing off Detroit."

Detroit Free Press
April 25, 2016
"In Detroit, 'the biggest problem we’re seeing with mortgages is the reverse mortgage problem,' said Ted Phillips, executive director of the nonprofit United Community Housing Network, which battles on behalf of homeowners facing foreclosure."

My Detroit Cable
March 8, 2016
Tax Foreclosure video featuring the United Community Housing Coalition. "If you need help getting out of foreclosure, call the Wayne County Treasurer's Office at 313-224-5990..."

Channel 7, WXYZ.com
February 16, 2016
According to the city heat is finally back on in all units at the Atrium Apartments, but now the question is: What are tenants rights, if they want to move out? 'They want to make sure that they have documented their complaints and they can show the landlord breached, not them,' says Ted Phillips, Executive Director and Attorney for United Community Housing Coalition in Detroit.


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