About 100,000 Detroit’s residents lost their homes to foreclosures because the city overcharged them for property taxes. The city owned up to the mistake, but the residents are still waiting to be reimbursed five years later.
Detroit owes the mostly Black residents $600 million, according to reports. Between 2010 and 2016, the city assesses properties at 85 percent of their market value, going against state law. The Michigan Constitution prohibits property from being assessed at more than 50 percent of its market value.
Grassroots organization, the Coalition For Property Tax Justice, has been advocating for Detroit to repay the residents since 2017. They have even helped the city by drafting proposals, but some city leaders have rejected their plans leaving the hundreds of thousands of residents who lost their homes in limbo.
Many Americans work to accomplish the goal of homeownership. However, for Black Americans, the dream of the white picket fence could be harder to achieve, data shows. Advocates said the over-taxation of the Detroit residents is racial injustice issue that blocks inter-generational wealth.
Detroit resident Sonja Bonnett said losing her home to foreclosure created a whirlwind in her life.
“When I lost my home, I didn’t just lose a structure: I lost my health; I lost my footing; I lost confidence in myself,” Bonnett said. “I think that the city really needs to know that when you put the community in these positions, you’re not just taking a building from us. You’re taking the American Dream from us. You’re taking what some of us are so proud to gain in the first place, which is a family home. And when it happened to me, it almost destroyed me. It almost destroyed my family.”
Read full story at Atlanta Black Star here.