Monday Oct 02, 2023

Rocket’s foreclosure prevention effort will contact 50K Detroiters by phone

Detroit — The Rocket Community Fund on Tuesday will begin reaching out by phone to 50,000 city homeowners at risk of losing their homes to tax foreclosure. 

The fund’s third Neighbor to Neighbor housing stability campaign, which seeks to connect Detroiters with resources to keep them in their homes, is a departure from its traditional door-to-door canvassing. 

The Rocket Community Fund said it has partnered this year with the multinational consumer credit reporting firm Experian on the approach that officials expect will increase resident response and reduce the time traditionally spent on canvassing.

“The Rocket Community Fund is obsessed with finding a better way to ensure that all Detroiters have access to a stable home,” Laura Grannemann, vice president of the Rocket Community Fund, said in the release. “The ongoing pandemic has pushed us to find new ways of creatively reaching Detroiters in order to support them and collect data around their changing needs. Thanks to the collaboration with Experian, this year’s Neighbor to Neighbor does just that.”

The goal of Neighbor to Neighbor is to help residents obtain a property tax exemption through the Homeowner Property Tax Assistance Program, now HomeOwners Property Exemption.

Laura Grannemann, vice president of the Rocket Community Fund, said the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the foundation to find new ways of reaching Detroiters. The Rocket Community Fund will launch its third Neighbor to Neighbor canvassing effort Tuesday to reach homeowners at risk of property tax foreclosure.

Neighbor to Neighbor also collects data through surveys. This year’s survey will include more extensive questions about home repair needs, officials noted. 

The canvassing program began as a pilot in 2017. In 2018 and 2019, teams visited every household in Detroit behind on property taxes, officials noted. 

Between 2015 and 2019, when tax foreclosure prevention efforts in Detroit began to ramp up in partnership with philanthropic organizations, the number of occupied houses entering the Wayne County Tax Auction were reduced by 94%, according to the Rocket Community Fund.

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