The Rocket Community Fund’s mission is to simplify complex and inequitable systems to ensure that every American has access to stable, healthy housing. In our hometown of Detroit, one of these systems is related to property tax foreclosure.
Tax foreclosure prevention and reform has been one of our major areas of focus going back to our very first Neighbor to Neighbor report. Through extensive canvassing, we learned that many Detroit homeowners were eligible for tax assistance through the city of Detroit’s Homeowners Property Exemption program (HOPE), but didn’t know how to connect to resources.
HOPE is an especially important tool because it not only helps residents get assistance for current year taxes, but is also the first step toward unlocking other resources including the Gilbert Family Foundation’s Detroit Tax Relief Fund (which pays off any previous year’s delinquent taxes) and the Detroit Home Repair Fund (which connects residents to critical home repair resources).
In response to this challenge, we began to work with a wide range of nonprofit partners throughout Detroit to streamline access to the HOPE application and ensure that as many eligible homeowners as possible were able to get assistance. Through the tireless efforts of these community partners, we were able to help more than 18,500 homeowners apply for HOPE in 2022!
To acknowledge this incredible achievement, Kitty Yarbrough, Program Manager on the Rocket Community Fund’s housing stability team, spearheaded a special event bringing all of our HOPE Counseling Network partners together in recognition and celebration.
“This is a night of celebration for all of the hard work and dedication that the community partners have contributed,” explained Kitty. “They have supported homeowners for years and years and we’ve finally got to a point where we can let our hair down and relax and enjoy the fruits of our labor.”
Check out the video below to learn more about the impact of the HOPE Counseling Network and to see how we honored our partners with a night of fellowship.