Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Squatter's Story: New Face Of Homeless

"You don't look homeless."
In the winter of 2008, I was a 44 year old divorcee with 2 children.  After that divorce, I was in a financial perfect storm, hardly making ends meet.  I was living in a ugly fixer upper with high rent, and driving a car with no heat.  I endured a bitter, vindictive custody battle strategically coerced by ex-husband to further discredit my character and integrity.  I was highly stressed spiritually, mentally and physically.  My house was broken into while at work and I was afraid of living in Livernois/Davison area.  I lost my job and had nowhere to go.
My sister's house was empty due to her foreclosure.  She said, "No one is living there, it needs a lot of work."  This is where my squatter's journey began.  The house had numerous problems, more problems than I had money.  Fortunate for me, I am a "do it yourselfer" and I worked my magic.  I scrubbed, cleaned, exterminated, painted, and wallpapered that vacant, abandoned house into a home.  I had to be creative with the utilities, lol, but my children and I were never cold or hungry.   We slept in warm beds, did homework, watched tv, and played games.  I cut the grass, had bar-b-ques and parties like I was paying rent.  My children never knew what was going on.  They were my motivation to make lemons into lemonade.
Was I afraid? Yes.  Was I happy? No.  What sustained me?  First, God always provided for us.  I had income from child support, some graphical design work, and food stamps.  I reached out to several human service agencies, but was often pre-judged because "I did not look like I was homeless" (that still puzzles me).  
My niece told me to visit the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, because they had housing resources.  While there, I sat in on a meeting by a non-profit agency called the Detroit Action Commonwealth (DAC).  I remember feeling inspired, compassionate, and focused.  My purpose was birthed that day.  I knew that helping the homeless, those facing homeless, and the indigent would give me great joy.  I joined that agency and enjoyed my roles as a member, recording secretary, organizer, vice president, and president.  I attended seminars, trainings, homeless marathons, and traveled to workshops and conferences in other Michigan cities meeting other organizers and administrators.  I have met city officials, congressmen, lawyers, judges, and other human service workers.  I guided others down the squatters road, some found permanent housing.  In, 2010, I was chosen to represent DAC at an Organizer's Conference in Washington, DC.  I marched and rallied to the home of a Bank of America's top executive, and Bank of America's corporate headquarters.  I visited the Capitol along with hundreds of other organizers and crammed in a congressman's office with a list of demands.
This was not the only time I would be a squatter.  The next time, I gained more knowledge about the law and the background of the property.  I became transparent with my testimony.  Most importantly, I learned that you have to run to the fear when you are the most afraid.  
I have sustainable housing today.  I pray to God that I never have to squat again, but I am not afraid too either.  The majority of my volunteering was when I was homeless, there is always something you can do.  Your time is just as valuable as your money, which do you have more to give.  
My favorite quote was written by Marion Wright Edelmon, "Service is the rent we pay for living on this planet." 


Monday, April 23, 2012

Do Not Move Out Of Your Home!

I want to encourage those who are facing foreclosure or eviction (renters). First, I know this is a very emotional and stressful situation. I have a passion for the homeless and have a testimony of that pain. Secondly, I have researched a variety of housing resources and alternatives for those who are homeless or facing homelessness.  Pay attention to this next statement, " Do Not Move Out Of Your Home.”  I have heard countless experts repeat that statement.  Believe me when I say this,  "You must have faith in God and be hopeful, help is available.  "Listen, whatever dilemma brought you to this fork in the road does not matter, the foreclosure process is lengthy one. You could literally stop paying your mortgage today and it could take 2 or more years before the Sheriff’s sale and you are given a writ of eviction.  By the way, you must be evicted properly through the 36th District Court (The People’s Court).   Another note, Renters, same statement above applies to you as well.  Please do not be afraid to go to court, show up and tell your side of the story.  There are dishonest slum lords out there and many judges are aware and sympathetic to that fact.  Some landlords are delinquent in their taxes, have liens on their property, and have lost their home due to the foreclosure process; and will continue to collect rent from you.  You can find out the status of any Wayne county property.  Do your research and due diligence. Here are a few free websites to get you started on your search: estate (tenant rights) (tax delinquent) (register of deeds)

In conclusion, there are a myriad of resources to help you. Remember, “Do Not Move Out Of Your Home.” I can go on and on, but I won’t.  I do know this one thing, there are compassionate people in Detroit who want to help and are willing to hear your side of the story.  You must take action now if you are homeless or facing homelessness.  The other side of “loss” is “recovery”.  You have not because you ask not. Thank God for a second chance.  Now breathe!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Wayne County Treasurer Wojtowicz Raises Nearly $10 Million in September Auction

I was very excited when I read this Press Release,  "(Detroit, MI---) With the September 2011 auction of tax foreclosed properties concluded, Wayne County Treasurer Raymond J. Wojtowicz announced the results indicating sales of nearly $10 Million.  “The last thing I want to do is sell someone’s property.  However if they cannot or will not pay their taxes I am required by law to sell the property at auction,” Wojtowicz stated.  “This year we saw significant activity in the auction and I can report preliminary numbers indicate we will receive 9.8 million dollars in revenue to provide essential services for Wayne County citizens.”
The Wayne County Treasurer’s Office is making every effort to energize its communities by encouraging people in Wayne County to purchase properties to help maintain stable neighborhoods.  “I was pleased to hear from a number of buyers that they plan to work with the occupants of these properties so that they might continue to occupy homes and businesses throughout the county.  This investment and cooperation is Real Michigan at work,” declared the Treasurer.  The number of properties sold in the auction represents a 74% increase over last year’s record setting auction; these funds support county-wide services.  The 9.8 million dollars in sales represents a137% increase when compared to the 2010 September auction.
Treasurer Wojtowicz’s directive to energize Michiganians is proving successful as Michigan residents purchased 93% of the auction properties.  The Treasurer also announced a new initiative to address concerns that some properties are purchased and then neglected by the new owner.  “To strengthen the auction process and stabilize neighborhoods, beginning with the September auction the Treasurer’s Office will require purchasers to keep taxes current on the property as well as demolish, secure or maintain the property as required.  If a purchaser fails to do so, the local community will have the right to take back that property with a thirty day notice.  This is an aggressive measure as our goal is to eliminate blight and abandonment in our communities”, explains Wojtowicz.
Terms of sale will indicate deeds issued will require the payment of taxes and maintenance, as well as demolition and securing of properties where warranted.  “We don’t want these properties to be a blight on the community and if we don’t act properties could sit neglected for three years until we can re-foreclose; our citizens shouldn’t have to live with that,” the Treasurer stated.
With this new process in place, local communities can monitor the property by utilizing their housing codes.  Should there be a violation of the requirements now placed in the deeds, the communities would notify the owner of the deed to correct the violation.  If the owner does not correct the condition the local community could take back the property.
Fire your landlord and buy your next home through the Wayne County's Treasurer office 2011 Auction. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why Buy Wayne County Tax Delinquent Properties?

The Wayne County Treasurer enforces general property tax laws and collects delinquent County taxes on Real and Personal Property located within the County. Property taxes become delinquent as of March 1st for taxes that remain outstanding from the prior year. For example property taxes that were due in 2008 and payable to the local City or Township became delinquent on March 1, 2009. Generally, once property taxes are in a delinquent status payment can only be made to the County Treasurer.
You can help revive Detroit's economy! Buy tax delinquent properties. The September online auction through Bid4Assets ended September 22, 2011.
You now have 2 choices, wait for the next auction October 21 -27, 2011, or visit your County Treasurer and inquire about properties over the counter. After the auction thousands of properties do not sell, which means no bidding just cash.
When property taxes are paid to the Wayne County Treasurer there is more money for city services. Buying tax delinquent properties is also a non traditional way to home ownership; no mortgage, you buy as is. Remember, do your research on the property. You can do all this online in your pajamas. There is a home for you in Wayne County. Also, you can qualify for free grants to fix up your propertiy, if you are in an empowerment zone, low income, or senior citizen. Don't limit your search click here for map of Wayne County cities.

Fire Your Landlord! Buy a tax delinquent property! Become a homeowner, Pay your taxes.  
Happy House Hunting!

Wayne County Auction 2011

Hello everyone! I have some great news for those looking to purchase a home. Did you know that the Wayne County Treasurer is having a fantastic on line auction on over 14,000 tax foreclosed properties in September and October, 2011. Here is a video with instructions on how to bid for the properties. click on My advice would be to visit the properties, take your camera and notepad, and do your due diligence on the property of interest. Check out the neighborhood, schools, grocery stores, expressways, everything. This is an excellent opportunity for homeownership. There are far too many vacant and abandoned homes that need families. Families put the neighbor back in neighborhoods. Stay tuned for more information on finding and keeping a home in Wayne County. I will be posting homes for sale ,housing resources, tips, home improvement, weatherization, utility assistance.
Si Se Peudo! Yes We Can! Live and Work in Michigan! 
Feel free to comment and or contact me.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 A Blank Page

What are your intentions today, January 1, 2012.  Today is a blank page.  I will start with something simple.  My intention for today, Be on time for church.  No resolutions for me.  I will set my intentions each day and do them.

I have been up since 7:00 a.m. commenting on friends facebook post, on blogs, listening to great gospel music, connecting with new friends, perusing the web and learning about the people, places, and happenings in Detroit. These are two cool websites I found:  and

I am a single mom, thrift store shopper, and frugal fashionista.  I love saving money when I shop for my family.  I want to help you save money and earn cashback when you are shopping your favorite stores for your favorite brand names.

Join the "Get Paid To Shop Program" for free.  I will be your Shop Consultant showing you how to earn 2-50% cashback on your purchases, and 1/2 percent cashback on your referral purchases.

Send me an email me saying, "Sign Me Up To Get Cashback"  at my referral email address: