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Detroit Still Hasn't Paid Wrongly Foreclosed Black Homeowners

By: April Carson

The city overly taxed residents, leading thousands to lose homes they couldn't afford to keep.

The city of Detroit has yet to make good on its promise to compensate black homeowners who were wrongfully foreclosed on.

Housing rights organizations, attorneys, and activists are still pressing the city of Detroit for monetary compensation for thousands of mostly-Black residents who were forced to sell their homes after receiving monumentally incorrect tax bills.

According to a 2020 Detroit News study, homeowners in Detroit were illegally taxed by $600 million between 2010 and 2016. Many of the incorrect tax bills violated a Michigan statute that restricts house values from being assessed at more than half of their market value, according to the Detroit Metro Times. An estimated 100,000 households, almost all of them Black, were foreclosed as a result of the overburdening.

Even though state officials in 2017 ordered Detroit to re-examine all the homes in the city, none of the incorrectly taxed homeowners have been compensated thus far. Now, activists are demanding compensation for those who were wronged.

A group of homeowners who are impacted by the state's property tax system is attempting to change that. The coalition polled more than 200 overtaxed residents in an effort to figure out how they want to be compensated. The results were released in a report published Thursday.

Residents said that no amount of money or in-kind compensation could fully compensate them for the city or county's misdeeds, according to Alexa Eisenberg, a housing activist and researcher. "Residents indicated that really no amount of monetary or in-kind compensation could completely restore the damage," she added. Residents emphasized that they want the government to provide assistance in dealing with the irreversible and generational mental health consequences. They also demand that the government apologize and be held accountable for wrongful acts.

“We need immediate and meaningful compensation,” Eisenberg stated.

The majority of respondents wanted cash payments as a form of recompense. However, because the city is prohibited from giving cash payments or tax credits to any of the overtaxed people under Mayor Mike Duggan's administration, this isn't going to happen.

Based on the magnitude of the mistakes, which were nothing short of systemic, a large demand for compensation is warranted. According to The News' initial research, one-third of all Detroit houses had been foreclosed between 2008 and the time of their investigation. Not to mention a $600 million windfall for the city's coffers, and a complete transfer of assets from homeowners to lenders or municipal authorities in the "poorest big city in the nation," according to The News.

A fictitious situation demonstrates how excessive tax burden puts a strain on cash-strapped homeowners. Detroit, like many other cities, assesses property taxes by multiplying a percentage rate, called "millage," by the assessed value of a property. One mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 in the value of a home.

Under Michigan law, a home with a market value of $100,000 could only be valued at $50,000. The millage rate of 69.6 mills in Detroit should result in a property tax liability of $3,480. If a home were valued at $85,000, or 85% of market value, the monthly payment would climb to $5,916. Many individuals in Detroit who couldn't afford to pay those artificially inflated bills ended up losing their homes as a result of it.

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About the Blogger:

April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on

To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav



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