Housing policy

Housing Policy Plan

I spend every single day working to ensure that families across Detroit and Hamtramck have a safe place to sleep at night. I have not stopped even while running for office, and I will certainly not stop as State Representative. We must expand affordable rental housing measures, reform tax foreclosure of occupied homes, implement Right to Council for eviction, support repairs and accessibility upgrades, re-vamp our land banking, and re-prioritize MSDHA.

Reform Tax Foreclosure & Ensure Fair Tax Assessments

  • Mandate fair tax assessments of all properties.
  • Require the affirmation of fair property tax assessments before foreclosure can take place.
  • Make the poverty tax exemption available retroactively to homeowners below the poverty line.
  • Provide tax breaks to seniors with automatic renewal each year (“once a senior, always a senior”). Similarly, Veteran’s tax exemptions should not require annual renewal.
  • Reform Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s (MSHDA) use of hardest hit funds to support homeowners over blight remediation. Reduce barriers to access.
  • Create more effective, common-sense payment plans for at-risk homeowners including reduced interest rates and local discretion.
  • Revoke law regarding the “affidavit” in the tax auction that ostensibly prevents owners from buying back.
  • Mandate disclosure to residents of any home facing auction that informs them and allows access to the bidding process.
  • Provide residents of foreclosed homes the first option to buy any government-owned residential property, including discounts for purchase.
  • Implement penalties to landlords who accept rent (including Section 8) during a period when the home is foreclosed and/or they do not own it. Return of any such payments x2 to the renter.

Prioritize Affordable Housing

  • Build more affordable housing. Prioritize sale of land-bank properties to landlords who will offer Section 8 for 5-10 years and/or retain public ownership and make site-based public housing. Raise funds for construction/renovation of affordable housing via fees for certain real estate transactions or bonds.
  • Establish a statewide commitment to a certain number of affordable units overall as well as within Section 8 housing.
  • Adjust boundaries of Area Median Income (AMI) standards to reflect local variations.
  • Synchronize Section 8 inspections with local rental ordinance to reduce redundancy and increase affordable housing
  • Have MSHDA grant more points for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) applications when:
    • a. there is a higher number of affordable units, or
    • b. there is a lower AMI threshold.
  • MSHDA must require that a portion of LIHTC units are Section 8.

Reform Landlord-Tenant Rights

  • Establish Right to Council for tenants in civil suits, including eviction cases.
  • Require landlords to show that they have standing before they can bring an eviction case. Verify ownership including tax foreclosure status.
  • Allow certificate of redemption for homeowners after mortgage foreclosure and prevent homeowners from being overcharged.
  • Reform land contracts and lease purchases, and clearly define what constitutes a land contract.

Land Banking Policy Reforms

  • Establish the priority of the land bank to give community access to land rather than to increase “comps.” Implement this priority in the following ways:
    • sale or properties to any existing resident of that home
    • sale of properties to existing residents of an area who would occupy as principal residence
    • sale to landlords who would provide Section 8 housing
  • Involve the community in decisions about which properties will be sold and which will be demolished
  • Sell, not lease, agricultural land to urban farmers
  • End “Nuisance Abatement” eminent domain activity

General Housing Policy Reforms

  • Increase requirements for land bank due diligence and transparency for property sales and demolitions. Increase power of the community to acquire/inform those decisions.
  • Create automatic notifications from the Registrar of Deeds to Assessor’s office to adjust ownership/taxpayer information.
  • Mandate notice of public liens on properties (water/tax) at the time of a deed transfer (Registrar of Deeds).
  • Mandate notice of PTA/PRE requirements at the time of a deed transfer (Registrar of Deeds).
  • Adjust requirements for State Emergency Relief such that payments can be made to stop foreclosure.
  • Allow principal residence exemptions for residential homes in Community Land Trusts.