Detroiters who want to apply for a new roof repair program for low-income seniors and homeowners with disabilities must first be approved for a property tax exemption

This story also appeared in Detroit Free Press

The city and nonprofit partners are hosting several drive through events where residents can get help applying for the Homeowners Property Exemption (HOPE), previously known as the Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Program (HPTAP).

Here’s a rundown of what to know: 

What is the property tax exemption? 

That HOPE program — meant to keep Detroiters at risk of foreclosure in their homes — spares qualifying homeowners from their property taxes for the current year. The deadline to apply is Dec. 13. In 2021, the city received 1,624 applications and has approved 1,281. The city carried forward approved applicants from 2019 and 2020 into 2021 because of changes in state legislation last year.

The Wayne County Treasurer’s office in May said it wouldn’t foreclose on occupied properties this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges people faced reaching government offices and waiting on federal aid, Treasurer Eric Sabree said at the time. 

A survey by Quicken Loans Community Fund in 2019 found that of the 25,000 homeowners behind on paying their property taxes, 55% indicated they were unaware of the tax exemption.

Who qualifies? 

Eligibility for the HOPE program is based on if a resident owns and occupies their home as their primary residence and their household income or circumstances, such as medical debt. For example, the maximum income for full exemption for a family of four is $27,248, while the maximum to be exempt from a quarter of a homeowner’s tax bill is $32,488.

Most homeowners whose income is below these income guidelines are approved, according to the city’s website about the program. 

How does the property tax exemption work with other programs? 

The property tax exemption is one of three requirements that determines if a person is eligible for a program announced earlier this month that aims to replace 1,000 roofs for low-income seniors and homeowners with disabilities in Detroit. In addition, the homeowner must be 62 or older or a person of any age with a disability, and they must not have received a home repair grant from the city of $10,000 or more in the past decade. 

There are some deadlines to keep in mind. Applications for the home repair program are due by Oct. 31.

Detroiters must submit their property tax exemption applications by Nov. 12 and must be approved by Dec. 14 to be eligible for the repair program. 

The roof repair program is funded by $30 million in federal American Rescue Plan dollars and is the first initiative to arise out of more than $400 million in pandemic recovery aid the city of Detroit received. The repairs are slated to begin spring of next year.

People who qualify for HOPE may also be eligible for the Wayne County Treasurer’s Pay As You Stay program (PAYS), which reduces back tax debt. People with both the property tax exemption and who are enrolled in PAYS are also eligible to get their back tax debt down to zero through another program called the Detroit Tax Relief Fund

Where to go if you need help

Detroiters who need help applying for the property tax exemption can make an appointment at upcoming drive through events: 

  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Saturday at Clark Park, 1130 Clark Ave., 48209 
  • 10 a.m. -4 p.m., Tuesday at Adams Butzel, 10500 Lyndon St., 48238 
  • 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Sat., Oct. 23 inside MACC Development, 7900 Mack Ave., 48214 
  • 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Tues., Oct. 26  at Patton Recreation Center, 2301 Woodmere St., 48209
  • 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Sat., Oct. 30 at Lasky Recreation Center, 13200 Fenelon St., 48212 

Go to to learn more about the property tax exemption and to schedule an appointment. People who are unable to set up an appointment online can call the Wayne Metro Connect Center at (313) 388-9799.

Nushrat Rahman covers issues related to economic mobility for the Detroit Free Press and BridgeDetroit as a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *