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Fundraiser aims to help 20 Detroit families keep their homes

Sep 14, 2015

Credit The Tricycle Collective / via Facebook

 An online fundraising campaign is underway to help 20 Detroit families keep their homes.

The Tricycle Collective assists families facing property tax foreclosure in Detroit.

More than 25,000 Detroit properties are set to go on the auction block at this year’s Wayne County tax foreclosure auction.

An estimated 8,000 are occupied residential homes.

Tricycle Collective founder Michele Oberholtzer says the non-profit group has launched an online fundraiser that aims to raise $20,000 to help 20 families bid on the homes they’re already living in.

“Though there are a lot of twists and turns and things that may happen, at least we are empowering people to have a seat at the table and to be empowered to participate in their own future,” Oberholtzer said.

The group helped 10 families stay in their homes with a similar effort last year, but is expanding their campaign this year.

“We’re both increasing the financial contribution to individual families, as well as the number of families that we support,” Oberholtzer said. “And, in part, that’s because of some changes to the auction.”

Those changes include requiring that bidders also pay 2015 summer taxes on properties, along with the eventual sale price. Also, a change in state law forbids delinquent property owners from bidding on their own properties, so the Collective is working mostly with renters this year.

Oberholtzer said the campaign will also include events to raise public awareness about the Wayne County property auction, and the “mutually destructive process” of displacement and blight it can feed.

The number of distressed properties has swelled in the past several years, and this year’s auction will be the largest ever. The first round of bidding starts later this month.