Dewar and Dueweke Provide Expertise on Keeping Detroit Residents in Homes, Avoiding Foreclosures in Detroit Free Press Feature
The Detroit Free Press published an editorial on the foreclosure crisis September 20, 2015, calling upon the expertise of both Professor of Urban Planning Margi Dewar and Lecturer in Urban Planning Eric Dueweke.
The Free Press detailed the upcoming Wayne County tax foreclosure auction. The county annually claims Detroit properties from residents and owners if property taxes aren’t paid for three consecutive years, and these properties are auctioned to recoup at least part of their tax debt. This fall, 24,950 properties are up for auction.
Dewar and Dueweke taught an urban planning “capstone” class of nine students who produced a 2011 report on tax reverted properties in Detroit, referenced in the article. This project won a national award from the American Institute of Certified Planners in 2013. Of the Detroit residents who will be displaced by the auction, Dewar said, “The big thing I think that should be happening is a whole lot more to keep people in their homes.” Dewar advocates publicizing the preexisting state-allowed reductions in property taxes in order to keep residents informed of their options.
Dueweke addressed the issue of speculators and “milkers,” buyers who purchase property on the cheap and rent it out with little or no investment. These properties cycle into continuous foreclosures when speculators and milkers neglect to pay property taxes. Dueweke suggests the county publish the names of these speculators, and is hopeful that residents will become advocates for improvement.
“If you focus on keeping the city whole, the tax base follows, so you actually accomplish both goals,” said Dewar.