BridgeDetroit breaks down the available foreclosure-fighting programs to help you. (BridgeDetroit photo by Valaurian Waller)

By Allie GrossBridgeDetroit

Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree is urging Detroiters at risk of foreclosure to get on payment plans, as a two-year moratorium on foreclosures of occupied homes comes to an end and the March 31 deadline for redemptions approaches.

According to a spokesperson for the county treasurer, as of Feb. 16, 17,359 properties in Wayne County are scheduled to be foreclosed on. Of that number, 12,990 are occupied.

In Michigan, properties are foreclosed after three years of delinquent taxes, meaning those who are at risk have unpaid taxes from 2019 — right before the pandemic started — or earlier.

Those facing property tax foreclosure have two options to save their home: Get on a payment plan by March 14, or pay their back taxes in full by March 31. If a homeowner misses these deadlines, a property will be foreclosed on by Wayne County and sold at auction in the fall.

Foreclosures have been a hot topic in Wayne County — and specifically in Detroit — for years. Between 2005 and 2015, more than 140,000 properties were dispossessed through mortgage or tax foreclosures, according to research by Josh Akers of the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Eric Seymour of Brown University, who also found that, in that time, the city saw a massive shift in equity. Detroit, a city once known for having the most Black homeowners in the country, became a majority-renter city by  2015.

While the City in recent years has celebrated a decline in occupied properties being auctioned — and the growth of payment plans and programs to help homeowners avoid foreclosure — the programs can still be confusing to navigate. There are various acronyms and deadlines all meant to help, but can still feel very intimidating. When Wayne County tells homeowners to sign up for a payment plan by March 14, what exactly does it mean?

Here, BridgeDetroit breaks down the available programs to help you get help. First, we’ll deal with the two main foreclosure-fighting programs,  HOPE and PAYS.

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