DLBA’s Buy Back program creates more than 1,000 homeowners, 2023 graduates celebrated today

  • DLBA celebrates milestone of 1,000 Buy Back homeowners as 135 Detroiters successfully complete the program today
  • Prior to enrolling in Buy Back, residents were occupying Land Bank-owned houses
  • Buy Back participants pay $1,000 to enter the program and spend a year learning about homeownership while saving for their first summer tax bill
  • 1,119 Detroiters have become homeowners through the Buy Back program since 2016


More than 1,000 Detroiters are now homeowners, securing stable housing for their family, thanks to the Detroit Land Bank Authority’s Buy Back program. Today, the DLBA and Mayor Mike Duggan presented deeds to the latest cohort of successful Buy Back participants during today’s celebration at the Johnson Recreation Center. 135 people graduated from the program this summer, after completing a year of homebuyer counseling courses and saving up enough money to pay their summer tax bill. The Buy Back program provides a pathway to homeownership for precariously housed individuals and families living in houses owned by the land bank.

This is the seventh Buy Back celebration since the program launched in 2016. Since then, Buy Back has helped 1,119 Detroiters get the deed to their home. Buy Back’s goal is to provide accessible housing opportunities, specifically for families and individuals who lost their homes to foreclosure but never left, were victims of real estate or landlord fraud, or have another significant connection to the house. “Working with the land bank was a great experience. I’ve always dreamed of being a homeowner and Buy Back made it possible. This process inspired me to enroll in trade school to learn how to do home repairs and now I’m building the future I see for my family,” said 2023 Buy Back homeowner, Emoni Davey.

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Mayor Duggan looks on as 2023 Buy Back homeowner Emoni Davey tells the story of how she's been inspired to enroll in trade school through the work she's done to fix up her new home.


“It was a joy buying my childhood home back, it was a great feeling to be able to help remove a blighted home. I wanted to be together with my mom, but while I was finishing the home, my mom was called “Home” to be with the Lord,” said 2023 Buy Back homeowner Pratiss Talton. “It’s a great feeling to get my deed in my hand and so joyful to know I’ll never have to be homeless ever again. I am forever grateful.”

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Detroit Land Bank Authority Buy Back program graduate Kendric Watts is happy to have ownership of a home that was previously in her family.


The program also connects participants with financial literacy resources through program partners Citizens Bank and 5/3 Bank, as well as local non-profits who provide homeownership workshops and counseling.

“We are so proud of all our Buy Back participants, becoming a homeowner is a major accomplishment! Our Buy Back program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity in the City of Detroit to help people access housing stability, without moving,” said Detroit Land Bank Authority CEO Tammy Daniels. “Surpassing 1,000 successful homeowners is a big milestone for the DLBA, too. No other land bank is doing what we are doing at this scale, but there are still about 1,800 land bank-owned houses in the city with folks living in them. We need them to come forward and work with us to see if they qualify for Buy Back or if we can connect them with City’s Housing and Revitalization Department for wrap-around support services that the DLBA isn’t equipped to provide.”

The program also aligns with the City of Detroit’s goals to create and maintain affordable housing, restore generational wealth, and create accessible avenues to homeownership for citizens.

"The Detroit Land Bank's Occupied Buy Back program has been an absolute life changer for more than 1,000 families and counting," said Mayor Duggan. "These are families that have been through some struggles with housing and now have earned the opportunity to own their own home.  Thanks to their own hard work, they now have the stability that comes with homeownership and the ability to build generational wealth as property values across Detroit continue to rise."  

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Mayor Duggan meets with DLBA Buy Back program graduates at today's celebration.


Who is eligible?

To qualify for the Buy Back program, individuals must currently live in a DLBA-owned house and have a connection to the property that meets at least one of the following conditions:

  • They are the most recent owner of record before the property was acquired by a public entity
  • They are a former renter in the property
  • A family member was a former owner of the property
  • They have paid for utilities at the property for at least 12 consecutive months
  • They are the victims of real estate or rental fraud at the property
  • They have received current and prior year state or federal documents at the property related to income, benefits, or services

The Buy Back program’s unique approach is designed to support participants throughout the process, helping them to build the skills they need to be successful homeowners and retain ownership of the property in the future. The DLBA partners with local non-profits to provide counseling and one-on-one assistance for each buyer.

Program requirements include:

  • Providing documentation of their eligibility for the program
  • Allowing a DLBA inspector to come to their house to make sure the house is safe to inhabit
  • Attending a Home Preservation Course with one of our seven non-profit partners
  • Completing a one-on-one financial assessment with a non-profit housing counselor

Throughout their year in the program, participants must stay current on their water bills, keep the property free from blight, and stay in consistent communication with their non-profit housing counselor and the DLBA.

Opportunity to participate

Right now, there are 48 new participants beginning their Buy Back program journey and working toward earning their deeds next summer. Occupants currently living in DLBA-owned houses are encouraged to come forward and contact the organization directly by emailing [email protected] or by calling 313-974-6869. More information about how to participate is available at buildingdetroit.org/buy-back.

Detroit Land Bank Authority Success

The Detroit Land Bank Authority’s mission is to restore blighted and vacant properties to productive use. The DLBA makes home and land ownership affordable and accessible to Detroiters through its variety of sales programs. It works directly with individual buyers, Community Partner organizations, and developers for projects big and small. Taking its commitment to revitalization one step further, the DLBA requires renovation and occupancy to improve neighborhoods and combat real estate speculation.  

Through its popular Side Lot program, the DLBA has sold more than 24,700 vacant lots to Detroit homeowners since 2014, a number unmatched in any other city. Its successful Auction, Own It Now, and Nuisance Abatement programs have generated more than 9,600 successful home renovations, with an additional 6,200 currently underway. Post-sale surveys show 72% of its home buyers are Detroit residents. The DLBA sells houses and vacant lots every day on its website and offers additional properties through real estate brokers.  

For more information and to view current property listings, visit buildingdetroit.org