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UCHC Affordable Housing Journal

Distinctly Detroit stories with a focus on homelessness prevention.

UCHC celebrates success of groundbreaking Make It Home program

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

By: UCHC Staff

Published: October 19, 2022

City of Detroit, Rocket Community Fund, and United Community Housing Coalition highlight the successes of the Make it Home program.
"I always treated this home like mine," said Make It Home participant Barbara Sledge. "I’m glad I can finally call it mine.” (Photo by Dave Mesrey)

DETROIT United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC) and its community partners gathered together last week at UCHC's Cass Park headquarters to celebrate the success of their groundbreaking homeownership program: Make it Home.


Launched in 2017, Make It Home (MIH) is an affordable home purchase program that gives residents in foreclosed homes the chance to buy the house they live inafter it’s been foreclosed, but before the annual Wayne County Treasurer's Auction of Tax-Foreclosed Properties. Since 2017, Make It Home has helped with the purchase of over 1,100 homes for low-income residents. In 2022, MIH helped 239 clients become homeowners, bringing the total to more than 1,300 homeowners. For nearly 50 years, UCHC has carried out its mission of helping low-income residents stay in their homes and strengthen their communities. One way the nonprofit organization does that is by offering zero-percent interest loans to Make It Home participants to finance the purchase of their homes.

"We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to become a homeowner regardless of income, credit score, savings, or type of employment," said MIH program coordinator Keturah Epps. "This year alone, I’ve personally seen a father reclaim visitation rights for his children because he has a place to stay, and a single mother who's finishing nursing school while her children have a safe place to sleep every night. This is the difference this program is making in the city of Detroit."


 


"We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to become a homeowner," said Make It Home program coordinator Keturah Epps.

Thanks to UCHC's generous supporters, including Rocket Community Fund, our clients are able to purchase their homes without credit checks or hefty down payments, making the goal of homeownership more accessible for many Detroiters who might not have been able to purchase a home using traditional methods.

"We have a vision that every single renter whose landlord isn't paying their property taxes should have the first right to purchase that property," said Rocket Community Fund Vice President of Strategic Investments Laura Grannemann. "And I'm so proud today to say that over 1,300 families are now homeowners, despite a system that causes so much turmoil across our community."

"If you read the narratives that are printed, you would think that the majority of foreclosures are homeowners who couldn't afford to pay their [property] taxes," said Detroit mayor Mike Duggan. "That's just false. ... The great majority of occupied foreclosures are landlords."


Detroit City Councilman Fred Durhal III (District 7) stressed the importance of creating generational wealth in minority communities such as Detroit and how homeownership can help families sustain it.


"Homeownership strengthens communities," Durhal said. "It ensures that we have density in our neighborhoods, that we don't have abandonment, that we don't have blight."

City Councilwoman Latisha Johnson (District 4) added that homeownership is critical to a revitalized Detroit. "It improves our communities, and it stabilizes our neighborhoods," she said. "It helps us to grow as a city."


New Make It Home homeowner Barbara Sledge, captain of her eastside Eden Gardens block club in District 4, said she's grateful she'll be able to pass her home down to her children someday.


Make It Home took a lot of stress off me because I wanted to stay in Detroit and didn’t want to lose my home," Sledge said. "I always treated this home like mine, and I’m glad I can finally call it mine."

 

At UCHC, we believe that housing is a human right, and we know you do, too. Your generous support helps us keep our low-income neighbors safe and secure in their homes throughout the year. To help support UCHC, click here.

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