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Volume of abandoned homes 'absolutely terrifying' Detroit — Detroit has had more homes foreclosed in the past 10 years than the total number of houses in several suburbs — or all of Buffalo, New York. Since 2005, more than 1-in-3 Detroit properties — 139,699 of 384,672 — have been foreclosed because of mortgage defaults or unpaid taxes, property records show. The vast majority are houses, and the tally is so huge it shocked even those who spent years working on foreclosure in Detroit.

"When you see it on a map, it's absolutely terrifying," said Chris Uhl, a vice president of the Skillman Foundation that is working to prevent foreclosures. To get a sense of the loss, consider all the houses in Warren, Livonia, Royal Oak, Southfield and Allen Park. Empty them. "Even if you are deeply involved, you can't help but be staggered by these numbers," said Steve Tobocman, a former state representative who served as co-director of the Michigan Foreclosure Task Force.

> Explore a database and map of tax-foreclosed homes in Detroit "I'm hysterical. Detroit Fire Department. Departments and Agencies | Government| City of Detroit, MI. Police & Fire Retirement System. Report confirms root of Detroit foreclosure crisis – Workers World. A powerful report on Detroit’s foreclosure crisis was published in the Detroit News June 25-27. (See The articles were the product of months of investigation by reporters Joel Kurth and Christine McDonald. They document what Workers World newspaper has stated for years: The banks are responsible for the destruction of Detroit’s neighborhoods and the loss of 240,000 residents since 2005.

McDonald and Kurth set out the following facts: 1. More than one in three Detroit homes have been foreclosed in the past 10 years. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. How did the crisis happen? Kurth and McDonald show how mass foreclosures in Detroit were a direct product of massive subprime lending in the city. Subprime loans have interest rates at least 3 percent above benchmarks established by government and various lending indexes. These low interest rates would soon adjust upward to an unaffordable payment for homeowners, leading to mortgage defaults and foreclosures. Coalition demands moratorium. Detroit foreclosure crisis strips city of homes.

Laura McDermott for Al Jazeera America On the block where Jessie West lives, the buffer against decay has been her family, and her many relatives, including her mother and three siblings, who all have homes there. Still, roughly 15 homes have become blighted, been foreclosed or been bulldozed by the city on her block in recent years, she says. But not a single streetlight there has been replaced, even though Duggan’s administration has thus far installed 40,000 LED streetlamps in more densely populated and upscale neighborhoods. “This used to be a pretty, tree-lined street with carpetlike grass and manicured lawns,” says West. “At night in front of my house, it’s total darkness.” “We can’t afford to buy back this house in the county auction, even at a low price,” says West, who has 2- and 6-year-old grandchildren also living in her home. Her family moved to Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood from Arkansas in the 1950s. “I’m tired of wondering if I’m going to have a place to live.''

Amid Detroit's resurgence, foreclosure crisis still threatens homeowners. The new owner and the former owner faced off in the hallway of the brick house, which sits on a pleasant, tree-lined street. Howard Franklin and his daughter, Catherine, wanted to move in, but the people who had lost the home in a tax foreclosure had not moved out. Voices got loud. Guns were drawn, and bullets ripped through the dark house.

When it was over, the 72-year-old Franklin lay dead inside the front door. His 37-year-old daughter was sprawled on the porch, also dead. Police quickly arrested Alonzo Long Jr., a relative of the home's previous owners, but anyone who thought this was a simple homicide case hasn't spent time in Detroit, where foreclosures have turned the killings into a symbol of the economic ills plaguing Detroit despite its emergence from bankruptcy in December. "We do not have a shortage of housing in Detroit. The population has plummeted, too. In January, Duggan said residents should see declines of 5% to 20% when tax bills go out in June.