"You can do this Right of Refusal,� [Ted Phillips] thought to himself. ... So, this is one of those things where a city that�s interested in being pragmatic and working with advocates and advocates interested in working collaboratively were able to do something together, and I think that�s the way we try to organize our department and our staff," he said. "Listen, be partners."
"Tenants at Detroit's Park Avenue House Apartments were stunned last month when they learned they needed to move out. Rumors of a sale caused the building's owner to move quickly, working to get longtime residents out. Since then, Mayor Mike Duggan's office has been working to make sure the residents are being treated fairly."
"After residents received the notices in October, the city stepped in to offer assistance; the city council approved $350,000 in emergency funds to be moved to the United Community Housing Coalition in order to help residents find new living arrangements. In an even stranger turn of events, Harrington wanted appliances removed from the residential units in the building, according to the Free Press. The city responded with a cease and desist letter."
"The City of Detroit issued a cease and desist letter to the owners of Park Avenue House after getting wind Friday that the owner planned to remove hotel-owned refrigerators and microwaves from units ' a week and a half before the 30-day deadline residents were given, earlier this month, to vacate the building. ... Last week, Detroit City Council approved a motion to move $350,000 in emergency funds to United Community Housing Coalition, a local nonprofit that works on housing issues in the city."
"Detroit narrative-shifters are people who counteract the way Detroit is misrepresented by uplifting the often invisible perspectives and stories of the city," says DNA's director. "We support narrative-shifting through community accountability, ethics and a commitment to rigorous craft and aesthetics." The screening takes place at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30 at Detroit's Bel Air Luxury cinema on Eight Mile Road. A director Q&A will follow each screening. Register for the event here. The films include: ...Take Me Home, a documentary short directed by Orlando Ford. A home foreclosure crisis has gripped Detroit, Michigan for over a decade. In this time, illegally inflated property taxes have caused more than 100,000 working families to lose their homes. The last time Americans experienced anything near this alarming rate of foreclosure was during the Great Depression. While headlines read of the so-called rebirth of Motor City, many Detroit neighborhoods have been devastated with African-American communities hit hardest of all. Take Me Home follows one family as they fight to save their home, and struggle to keep their neighborhoods and communities from being lost. In partnership with United Community Housing Coalition, The Coalition to End Unconstitutional Tax Foreclosure and Detroit Eviction Defense."
"Nowling said the eviction notices for residents ' many of whom are low-income ' were issued by the property's seller. ... "None of this talk of moving residents out in 30 days was any condition of any offer they put on the table," Nowling said. "That was the seller's sole action."
"On Tuesday, Detroit City Council approved a motion to move $350,000 in emergency funds to United Community Housing Coalition. The coalition is a local nonprofit that works on housing issues in the city and has taken initiative on this situation. ... The money will be used to provide moving assistance to those who want to move, as well as free lawyers for those who want to fight the eviction."
"The developer worked with Detroit's Department of Housing and Revitalization, Midtown Detroit Inc. and the United Community Housing Coalition. The city supported tax abatements and funding to supplement the rents of tenants who lived elsewhere during the renovation."
"A request to move $350,000 in emergency funds to United Community Housing Coalition will go before city council on Tuesday, according to Wiley. The coalition is a local nonprofit that works on housing issues in the city and has taken initiative on this situation. An additional $50,000, Wiley said, is 'already in the works and does not need council approval.'
"City of Detroit tries to intervene in Park Avenue Hotel evictions. ... The city and the United Community Housing Coalition will hold a meeting on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 2 p.m. at the Central Methodist Church in Detroit to help find other housing options for the displaced tenants."
"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. ... Bottom line is this has not been a great way to collect taxes," says Ted Phillips, executive director of the United Community Housing Coalition."
"The program brings the number of occupied properties that will be sold at auction next month down to around 1000, the lowest number in years. Though numbers are down significantly in the past couple of years, tax foreclosure'and property tax delinquency'remain major problems in Detroit."
"According to the county, owner-occupied foreclosures in Detroit are down 89 percent in the past two years, while foreclosures of all homes are down 78 percent. Advocates on the ground question these numbers. "It's entirely likely that more homeowners are in foreclosures than what their numbers show," says Ted Phillips, executive director of the United Community Housing Coalition. He points out that 40,000 homes were up for foreclosure at the beginning of this year, mostly unoccupied properties, but still many thousands of occupied ones, too."
"Broder & Sachse also completed the Scott at Brush Park in recent years, along with the rehab of the Albert in Capitol Park in 2014. In that development, units were rehabbed into upscale apartments, displacing its senior residents. The developers worked with the United Community Housing Coalition for housing needs and offered monetary assistance to the residents in that redevelopment, but seniors still had to move from their homes."
"The nonprofit has about 140 applicants so far in the process. The group has knocked on doors of all the foreclosed properties believed to be occupied, trying to educate owners and done mailings. They plan on visiting homes a second time before the deadline."
"A tenant has no advantage over the general public when they (houses) go up for auction," Oberholtzer said. "We love the opportunity to help the person who lives in the home become the owner. And recognize the value to the entire community of having more homeowners."
"Through its partnership with Quicken Loans and United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC), the city also announced it would be expanding its program to buyback homes in tax foreclosure from 80 to 300 homes."
"Partly as a result of that settlement, the city has also expanded its right of first refusal program. That allows cities to buy back homes the county has already foreclosed on before auction. This year, Detroit aims to take back at least 300 homes, then pass them onto the United Community Housing Coalition, which will work with the current occupants on a buy-back plan."
"Our partners have worked tirelessly," said Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree, adding that community groups have played a major role in the effort. "They did the lion's share of the work ... and these efforts have worked. We knocked on over 5,200 doors letting people know their properties were at risk."
"Existing, qualified renters are given the opportunity to buy the homes for $2,500-$5,500, with the price determined according to the value of each home. The loans are interest-free and paid back over six months. ... Funds from each home sale go back to fiduciary United Community Housing Coalition to be redeployed in the tax foreclosure prevention effort."
"Through a partnership with United Community Housing Coalition and Quicken Loans Community Fund started in 2017, renters of 80 foreclosed houses had the opportunity to purchase the houses for as little as $2,500."
"Earlier this week, the ACLU of Michigan and the City of Detroit reached a settlement after a two-year lawsuit over how the city administers property tax breaks for the poor, often leading to foreclosures. In the agreement, these homeowners will be able to stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure for $1,000. The ACLU says the settlement will also make the process "less burdensome" for those applying for the program."
"Since 2003, TFPP has run a program to help residents of foreclosed homes buy back their properties in auction. Beginning with "seed money" drawn from the private accounts of two visionary, generous lawyers, the TFPP has enabled over 3,000 residents to buy the homes they live in, mostly through tax foreclosure auction purchases. This service mitigates the worst social consequences of the auction, which include permanent displacement and blight."
"We are excited to partner with the City of Detroit and community organizations to craft a creative settlement that will prevent thousands of Detroiters from losing their homes to tax foreclosure," said Michael J. Steinberg, legal director of the ACLU of Michigan. "It is a win for homeowners unfairly facing loss of their homes, and a win for the city, which will have fewer abandoned properties in residential neighborhoods. This agreement will hopefully mark the beginning of the end of the worst tax foreclosure crises since the Great Depression."
"The ACLU of Michigan has reached a settlement in its 2016 lawsuit against Detroit, which includes a deal to save potentially thousands of foreclosed homes over the next three years by selling them back to low-income owners for $1,000. ...Steinberg said funding to buy the homes will come from charitable donations and $275,000 contributed by city as a part of the lawsuit settlement agreement. He said more funding from area foundations is expected for the program, which will be run by the United Community Housing Coalition, a city housing nonprofit."
"On the 50th anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act, James Cristbrook of the Greater Metropolitan Association of Realtors and Margaret Brown of the Fair Housing Center of Detroit agreed metro-Detroit' status as one of the most segregated areas in the nation persists due to discrimination.
"Residents fought for a program like Home Swap so there'd be an option for people who didn't lose their homes to eminent domain, but who didn't want to stay in the increasingly industrialized area. Rather than offer residents cash to move wherever they'd like, the program is designed to help repopulate Detroit neighborhoods. For the first round, the city chose to make available houses in three Detroit neighborhoods."
"After a decade in which one in four properties in Detroit have gone through tax foreclosure, there is still a serious lack of information about what to do when your landlord doesn't pay the taxes and the government becomes the owner of your home."
Click On Detroit - Channel 4 News / April 10, 2018
"The University of Michigan's School of Public Health and Poverty Solutions initiative are working with the United Community Housing Coalition, a nonprofit in Detroit, to raise awareness about a program that can reduce property taxes for low-income residents."
"Ted Phillips, director of United Community Housing Coalition, says the Department of Housing and Urban development (HUD) isn't renewing two grants UCHC relies on for 40% of its annual funding. ,"We've had a housing placement program the entire time that I've been here since 1986. And the thought of that being lost is just devastating," Phillips said."
"The defunding of UCHC has been a long time coming, according to Ted Phillips, the executive director of the program. While Phillips acknowledges that it could be tempting to some to want to tie the cuts to President Donald Trump ' in February the administration announced its 2019 budget, which included an $8.8-billion cut in HUD funding ' Phillips contends that the reality goes farther back. UCHC's homeless placement program is considered a "supportive service" ' it counsels individuals through the housing system, versus providing actual housing ' and for years, HUD has been deprioritizing such services, encouraging local entities who divvy out the funding ' known as a Continuum of Care ' to rank lower grant applications for support."
"There are stories of racially and socially diverse tenants living together inside the halls of an apartment complex in Detroit at MLK and Davenport, formerly named the Milner Arms Apartments. Now it's being renovated, renamed and soon to be reopened. The Hamilton, as it will be called, will forcefully push back any semblance of gentrification in Detroit. Claudia Sanford is proud. As organizer of the United Community Housing Coalition, she's an advocate for Detroiters who want a fair shake. ,"If we're not there then a lot of people fall through the cracks. This kind of project would be more difficult and the stress for tenants would be much greater than it already is," she said."
"Canvassers are telling homeowners about workshops on property tax exemption happening over the coming weeks in each of Detroit's seven city council districts. At the workshops, homeowners will meet with tax foreclosure prevention counselors from United Community Housing Coalition who can help them figure out if they are eligible for the savings and, if so, how to apply."
"UCHC and the Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund (QLCIF) will be partnering with an additional eight community development organizations on "an extensive education effort addressing the pervasive issue of tax foreclosure in Detroit."
"The county requires that tax-delinquent homeowners pay 10% of the total tax owed to enter a reduced-interest payment plan, but for Detroiters living in poverty, that's an insurmountably high bar. A two-year, $500,000 grant made by the McGregor Fund to the United Community Housing Coalition would have helped -- part of the grant would have covered the 10%, buying homeowners time to pay off the total tax debt."
"Oberholtzer said she helped roughly 40 people apply for tax exemptions up through the end of the auction. She said this year's auction was particularly devastating to her clients. She says of 140 homes owned by her clients, 100 were sold at auction."
"The Quicken Loans Community Investment Fund (QLCIF) has partnered with the United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC) and eight community development organizations to launch an extensive education effort addressing the pervasive issue of tax foreclosure in Detroit. This door-to-door outreach will attempt to reach all 60,000 residential properties behind on property taxes and connect residents at risk of tax foreclosure to resources."
"Homeownership gives families an opportunity to thrive and grow equity in their homes," Phillips said in a statement. "But when foreclosed homes are purchased by investors at the tax auction, occupants are evicted, investor-owned homes are often neglected and blighted, and neighborhoods quickly destabilize. Keeping families in their homes directly benefits the families, their neighborhoods, and the city."
"The number of occupied homes in this year's tax foreclosure auction is far lower than recent years, with city and county officials attributing the improvement to a reduced-interest payment plan and better outreach to promote assistance available. But housing advocates have said the lower number of homes in the auction belies the fact that tens of thousands of households are still at least two years behind on their taxes ' meaning they could soon receive foreclosure notices and wind up next year's auction. About 36,000 Wayne County residents are currently on payment plans for the taxes they owe on their homes."
"There's 80 tenants that we hope will be able to buy the homes that they're occupying for a portion of the taxes that their landlord failed to pay," says Phillips. "They're either going to basically buy directly from the city, or if they don't have sufficient funds, we will buy it and then sell to them for the cost of what it took to do that."
"Denise Tanks, a mother of two, was renting a home on Detroit's west side that was foreclosed upon after the landlord didn't pay the property taxes. She's now working with the United Community Housing Coalition to buy the home after the foreclosure is complete. Tanks spoke Tuesday at a news conference at the Butzel Family Recreation Center."
"Frederick is among hundreds of residents who have volunteered their time to clean up, beautify, and revitalize their neighborhood with the assistance of the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation (GRDC) and its Vacant Property Task Force throughout the last several years. ... The task force advocates for the demolition of blighted properties and has worked with Detroit Future City's Implementation Office to install landscaping that manages storm water runoff. It also partners with the United Community Housing Coalition and U-Snap-Bac to offer annual tax foreclosure prevention workshops to teach residents about assistance programs."
"I see thousands of people every year who need help," says Michele Oberholtzer, founder of the Tricycle Collective, a non-profit helping Detroiters at risk of foreclosure. She also helps residents apply for the Step Forward program at the United Community Housing Coalition. "What we see in terms of the application for homeowners, is it�s very, very few people who are approved [for Step Forward Michigan.] I council my clients: 'This is like a free lottery ticket. It doesn�t hurt to apply, but you�re very unlikely to win.'"
"A public forum on June 17 addressed the continuing tax foreclosure crisis in Detroit that has left thousands of families facing imminent eviction from their homes. The forum was organized by the Coalition to Stop Unconstitutional Property Tax Foreclosures, composed of many community groups including the Moratorium Now! Coalition, Detroit BYP100, the Detroit People's Platform, the United Community Housing Coalition and the American Civil Liberties Union."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"(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."
“Very often the common scenario that we see is that somebody comes in for tax foreclosure, they should have been getting it (poverty exemption) forever, for that matter, you know, they’re 70 years old, their income hasn’t changed in years, but they didn’t know about it and they first time they hear about it is when they’re in foreclosure and about to lose their house,” Phillips said.
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"The Tricycle Collective partnered with United Community Housing Coalition, which conducted the bidding, and won homes for 18 of the 31 families. Among other anti-foreclosure work over the last few decades, UCHC has bid on homes for families since 2010 and won 1,600 overall."
"Ted Phillips, director of the United Community Housing Coalition in Detroit, says tens of thousands more properties that went into foreclosure avoided going to auction. In part, that's because state lawmakers made changes that allowed more struggling homeowners to get on payment plans, in some cases cutting the amount of back taxes owed and offering reduced interest rates. "Nevertheless, there still appears to have been 3500 or so homeowner-occupied homes in Detroit, and a few thousand others that were tenant-occupied, that ended up going to auction sale," said Phillips."
"Applying to succeed Wojtowicz are... A panel of three officials ' Clerk Cathy Garrett, Prosecutor Kym Worthy and Chief Probate Judge Freddie Burton Jr. ' is expected to appoint an interim treasurer by next month. The post pays about $116,000. "We need someone who can strike a balance between collection taxes and taking property," said Ted Phillips, director of the United Community Housing Coalition, a nonprofit that works to help poor residents keep their homes."
"The coalition counsels thousands of people on how to get into the payment plans the county offers in order to help them stay in their homes. It does more of this kind of work than any other organization in Detroit. "These are people who lost their homes because they were poor or they were grossly overassessed or they were unaware that they could have gotten their taxes completely waived," says Phillips, referring to property tax exemption the city offers to people who live below the poverty line."
"Once Clark became her lawyer, even though she'd missed the deadline, he tried again. In January 2014, Clark appealed to Trott & Trott, and to the firm's client Fannie Mae, to sell Whitfield the house. To fund the deal, he enlisted the United Community Housing Coalition, a Detroit-based nonprofit organization, which agreed to pool its funds with Whitfield's money to make an offer on her behalf of $8,850, amounting to 95% of the $9,000 appraisal. There was no response, Clark said."
"Buyers like Gresham rarely get the help 'most middle-income people get," said Ted Phillips, executive director of United Community Housing Coalition, which advocates on behalf of delinquent homeowners. "They don't have an attorney, they don't have a Realtor, they don't have a title company," Phillips said. "They believe the handshake. They believe the house is perfect and doesn't have back taxes. As a result, they may be in foreclosure three days after they buy the house."
"Ted Phillips, the director of the United Community Housing Coalition in downtown Detroit, has been leading the charge to inform people about their options once their houses have been foreclosed on. If they aren't granted an extension or put on a payment plan, the coalition will do its best to bid on their homes. Phillips says he and his team of seven will be cramming round a conference table this week, seeking to buy back around 500 houses at an estimated average price of $1,250. When a wave of foreclosures hit the city a decade ago, the United Community Housing Coalition was able to prevent most evictions, but there are too many foreclosures now for the organization to fight all of them."
"Ted Phillips, the executive director of the United Community Housing Coalition, where a worn office is regularly crowded with families in search of a last-ditch way to save their homes, has watched their numbers swell. "If we don't make some changes with what we're doing, I don't know where this ends." Mr. Phillips said."
International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) / March 19, 2010
"Ted Phillips, executive director of United Community Housing Coalition, is scheduled to testify this Saturday in Detroit at the Citizens Inquiry into the Dexter Avenue Fire. Phillips, an attorney who specializes in real estate law, said the organization does a lot of work advocating for residents with landlord problems, including those facing evictions. He said that many of the people he sees also have problems with their utility bills. When we raised with him the problems faced by Sylvia Young, the mother who lost three children in a house fire in Detroit on March 2, or the Allen brothers who died in a fire on Dexter Avenue, he said, 'We see this all the time. People just don’t have the money to pay.' Phillips added that DTE doesn’t give people with shut-off utilities much of a break."