Mayor appoints former foreclosure prevention advocate Michele Oberholtzer to be City’s Chief Policy Director

  • Veteran tax foreclosure expert fills position following Kim Rustem’s appointment to CRIO Director
  • As the director of tax foreclosure prevention at United Community Housing Coalition (UCHC) Oberholtzer helped create the “Make It Home” program which helped residents of foreclosed homes to become owners and provided direct counseling to thousands facing eviction

Mayor Mike Duggan announced today the appointment of Michele Oberholtzer to the position of policy director. Oberholtzer will be tasked with working across city departments to develop policies that will help the City provide a greater impact to the residents of Detroit. She will also advise the Mayor on policy impact of local, state, and federal legislation.  

The policy director position was previously held by Kim Rustem who was recently appointed as the Director of CRIO following the departure of longtime administration member Charity Dean. As part of the transition, the City’s marijuana and business outreach and support efforts will remain under the direction of Rustem for continuity.

In her former role as the director of the tax foreclosure prevention project at UCHC she was a project manager overseeing outreach to thousands of residents of homes at risk of property tax foreclosure across Wayne County, including providing counseling to thousands of households annually. She was also responsible for facilitating the vetting, purchase, and sale of occupied homes on behalf of residents for affordable rates, successfully overseeing the transfer of 1,200 homes within three years.

"Michele has been a passionate advocate for Detroiters facing foreclosure and housing insecurity and her past work already has helped to shape city policy,” said Mayor Duggan. “She has been incredibly impressive in her work and I couldn't be happier that she will be bringing her talent, advocacy, and perspective to our administration."

Prior to her work at UCHC she founded The Tricycle Collective an all-female, volunteer-led non-profit that raised and donated $120,000 in direct contributions to families with young children at risk of tax foreclosure to prevent the loss of homeownership or assist in acquiring ownership. A former engineer by training, Oberholtzer has a passion for activism and has worked on numerous environmental issues including industrial pollution, water access, and renewable energy in Detroit, New York City, and South Africa.

"I see this role as a great opportunity to go from the front lines to the fine print, continuing the work I have loved so much at UCHC for policy change,” said Oberholtzer. “This is a time of so much need and possibility; I can't wait to see what we create.”

Michele will start in her new role April 10.