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Wayne Co. to help 4K facing foreclosure

Detroit — Wayne County treasury officials expect to broker payment plans with nearly 4,000 tax delinquents over the next week in hopes of keeping owners in their homes.

Several hundred homeowners facing foreclosure met with treasury staffers Wednesday at Cobo Center. Among them was Ralanda Jones, 42, of Detroit who has a second job cleaning offices in hopes of paying off the $2,243 she owes in 2010 taxes and fees.

“It’s the house I grew up in,” said Jones, who lives near Dexter and West Davidson. “It’s home.

“It can be very overwhelming. I just need some time.”

Nearly 42,000 county properties face foreclosure for 2010 unpaid taxes, including nearly 35,000 in Detroit. Officials say they expect to set up monthly payment plans to pay back taxes with a majority before they sell them at auction. Last year, the office made deals with nearly 23,000 property owners.

“We would like to help each and every owner avoid foreclosure, pay their taxes and stabilize our neighborhoods,” said Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz in an email. “We have programs that can help. We need taxpayers to come down and work with us.”

The properties are sold in September and October, when most are sold at a $500 starting bid.

Three generations of Jones’ family are struggling with taxes on their Detroit homes. Her mother brokered a payment plan with the county last year. Jones hoped to set up a similar plan Wednesday and her daughter expects to work out a deal for $4,500 in taxes and fees.

Terrance Williams owes $4,600 on his late grandmother’s Detroit home. The 47-year-old cab driver’s income fluctuates and he’s had a difficult time getting the money together to pay the bill.

“I don’t want to be homeless,” said Williams, who lives near Seven Mile and Interstate 75. “It’s just economics. Folks don’t have jobs. Something has to give.”

Avoid foreclosure

The Wayne County Treasurer will hold show cause hearings today, Friday, Monday and Tuesday at Cobo Center’s Riverfront Ballroom. There are two sessions a day, starting at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

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