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Economy

Businessman Dan Gilbert leading effort to erase property tax debt for thousands of Detroiters

a headshot of Dan Gilbert
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Dan Gilbert is leading an effort to erase property tax debt for thousands of Detroit residents.

The billionaire is pledging $500 million over the next 10 years for the effort through his Gilbert Family Foundation and the Rocket Community Fund.

Mayor Mike Duggan says despite reforming state property tax laws in recent years, some people have been left behind.“We still have 20,000 people below that poverty level who still have the base taxes. And what the Gilbert family is saying today is that for those of very low income, they’ll pay off the rest of it and give them a fresh start.”

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans says the donation will help address the region’s housing crisis.

“You have ongoing foreclosures and then you have the population loss that comes from the foreclosures. You have reduction in property values of the surrounding properties and the cycle just gets worse and worse.”

Evans says in the years since the Great Recession, about one in four homes in Detroit were foreclosed upon.

After the process was paused at the onset of the pandemic. Foreclosures in Wayne County are expected to resume later this year.

Residents must apply through Detroit’s Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Program to access Gilbert’s relief funding.

The initiative gives qualifying households tax exemptions based on income. Gilbert himself has received hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks for several of his Detroit properties.

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