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Wayne County homeowners seeking foreclosure help face March 31 deadline

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Time is running out for Wayne County residents to get help with tax foreclosures.

County officials say thousands of people facing foreclosure have gotten on payment plans to avoid that — more than 7,500 in Detroit alone.

But the option is only available until the end of this month.

Deputy Wayne County Treasurer David Szymanski says some temporary changes to state law can reduce debts to a manageable level — but the “time is now” to act.

“This is a key thing for people to understand … even though that number looks real high in the beginning, we can break it down and make it affordable,” Szymanski says.

Szymanski and other officials say there are still more than 10,000 homeowners in Detroit alone who should qualify for help.

This year, Wayne County issued foreclosure notices to all properties with delinquent tax bills — some 75,000 total. More than 80% are in Detroit, and about half are occupied.

Ted Phillips, director of the United Community Coalition in Detroit, says the payment plans have helped a lot of people stay out of foreclosure for now, but it’s “going to be a real tight time to try and get everybody served by March 31.”

“The biggest concern is that there are so many in foreclosure, it’s really hard to imagine that the system has the capacity to deal with it,” Phillips says.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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