City of Detroit expands Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Program to help more Detroiters avoid foreclosure

  • City expands Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Program (HPTAP) to include 25% exemptions
  • 2020 applications open January 8th
  • Expanded public, private and community outreach effort leads to 30% increase in property tax exemptions granted in 2019
  • Approved applications nearly doubled from 2014 to 2019, helping more than 7,000 Detroiters avoid foreclosure

 

DETROIT  –The City of Detroit will now offer 25% exemptions on residential property taxes starting this year, Mayor Mike Duggan announced today.  The 25% property tax exemption is an additional option to the 50% and 100% property tax exemptions already offered to income qualifying Detroit homeowner occupants. This newly added exemption option will increase the number of Detroiters eligible for financial support who otherwise wouldn’t qualify for The Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Program (HPTAP). Applications are being accepted beginning January 8, 2020. Applications are available online. Applications also may be requested to be sent by mail, by phone 313-224-3035 or by sending an email to [email protected].

Expanding HPTAP to include the 25% exemption option is the result of the City working with partners such as Southwest Solutions and identifying the needs of residents. The City presented the Board of Review and the City Council with an option to expand its eligibility requirements to reach a greater pull of residents.

The expansion will also grant more residents’ access to the City’s proposed Pay as You Stay (PAYS) Program. PAYS, passed by the State House of Representatives in early December 2019, would eliminate penalties, interest, and fees on back taxes. Essentially, PAYS would provide affordable payment plans for residents at risk of foreclosure. Homeowners who qualify for HPTAP and enroll in future years would be eligible for the program as well. Both, PAYS and HPTAP, work to eliminate financial burdens for residents and provide a comprehensive plan to homeowner stability.

“For Detroit to succeed, we need to help families stay in their homes,” said Mayor Duggan. “Thanks to the help of our great community partners, we have made a lot of progress reducing foreclosures by more than 90 percent and getting more Detroiters to apply for property tax exemptions.  Expanding access to property tax exemptions will help reach more Detroit families that may be struggling to pay their property tax bills and help them avoid possible foreclosure.”

Who qualifies?

Previously, Detroit homeowners could qualify for a 100% exemption or a 50% exemption on their property taxes, depending on their household income.  A family of two earning $22,754 or less for example, is eligible for a 50% exemption, while a family of two earning $20,246 or less is eligible for a 100% tax exemption, meaning they pay no property taxes each year they are eligible. Under this expanded program a family of two earning $25,703 or a family of four earning $31,930 would be eligible for a 25% reduction in their property taxes.  For a full chart of income eligibility for all three property tax exemption tiers, visit here.

City approved 30% more exemptions in 2019 vs 2018

In 2019, the City of Detroit granted close to $5 million property tax exemptions to 7,601 qualifying Detroit homeowners seeking relief on their property taxes.  The number represents a 30% increase in approved tax exemptions from the previous year, when the Board of Review approved 5,836 applications. 

The number of exemptions approved by the City has increased steadily each year since 2014, when 3,805 applications were approved. The spike in exemptions granted in 2019 coincides with a need to expand eligibility requirements to reach more residents in need of help. The City worked diligently with private and public partners to increase community engagement and reach more Detroiters in need of financial assistance in 2019.

Outreach efforts by the City, other public entities, the Quicken Loans Community Fund and community partners included:

  • The Office of the Assessor sent over 188,000 mailers to all homes possibly eligible for exemptions in November, as well as over 40,000 targeted mailers sent out earlier in the year;
  • The Quicken Loans Community Fund partnered with 16 community groups to launch the Neighbor to Neighbor campaign, which visited over 60,000 families living in tax-delinquent homes;
  • As part of the Neighbor to Neighbor campaign, the Quicken Loans Community Fund partnered with the 16 community groups listed below to host monthly workshops that ultimately helped over 3,000 Detroit residents apply for PTE;
  • Hundreds of Quicken Loans volunteers called every tax-delinquent homeowner to remind them to apply or reapply for HPTAP;
  • The City translated informational documents into three languages. Documents were used in Neighbor to Neighbor door knocking campaigns and promotional documents in all workshops;
  • The City publicized HPTAP and poverty tax exemption workshops through government communications platforms such as promotional videos on social media and media notifications;
  • The Office of the Assessor and Board of Review made phone calls to residents who were potentially eligible for HPTAP but had not submitted a 2019 application;
  • District Managers distributed information about HPTAP at community meetings;
  • The Department of Neighborhoods hosted tax foreclosure prevention workshops with United Community Housing Coalition in each district where HPTAP assistance was available; and
  • The Wayne County Treasurer’s Office released billboards to increase reach and frequency with residents.

“This year we set out to increase the number of Detroit families assisted through HPTAP, and I am proud of our work in collaboration with Quicken Loans Community Fund, United Community Housing Coalition, and community groups to meet this goal,” said Chief Financial Officer David Massaron. “I thank everyone for their hard work to reach these Detroiters, but we still have more to do. In 2020, we will advocate for enactment of the Pay As You Stay legislation, and further increase our outreach efforts to prevent occupied foreclosures.”

“I am pleased that we reached more Detroit households with HPTAP in 2019. I am committed to helping Detroit families avoid tax foreclosure, and HPTAP is an important tool to assisting Detroiters most in need,” said Janeé Ayers, City Council Member at Large.

Funded by the Quicken Loans Community Fund, these 16 community organizations hosted Neighbor to Neighbor workshops to help Detroiters apply for Property Tax Exemptions in 2019:

  • Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation
  • Black Caucus Foundation
  • Focus Hope
  • Osborn Neighborhood Alliance
  • Jefferson East, INC.
  • U-SNAP-BAC
  • Central Detroit Christian
  • Detroit Association of Women’s Club
  • MACC Development
  • United Community Housing Coalition
  • Bridging Communities
  • Southwest Economic Solutions
  • Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance
  • Detroit Association of Black Organizations
  • Mansfield Farm 4-H