Macomb Habitat for Humanity will repair four tax-foreclosed homes in Roseville and sell them to low-income families, similar to several homes they recently rehabilitated in Eastpointe, pictured.

Macomb Habitat for Humanity will repair four tax-foreclosed homes in Roseville and sell them to low-income families, similar to several homes they recently rehabilitated in Eastpointe, pictured.

Photo provided by Helen Hicks


Four new Habitat for Humanity homes approved in Roseville

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published August 25, 2021

 Habitat for Humanity can repair a home and prepare it for new owners in less than three months after obtaining it. Habitat for Humanity plans to do so with four homes in Roseville this autumn.

Habitat for Humanity can repair a home and prepare it for new owners in less than three months after obtaining it. Habitat for Humanity plans to do so with four homes in Roseville this autumn.

Photo provided by Helen Hicks

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ROSEVILLE — The city of Roseville approved a new agreement with Macomb County Habitat for Humanity at the City Council meeting Aug. 3.

The nonprofit organization will be given four tax-foreclosed properties in the city to renovate and then sell at a discount to low-income families.

“We received word from Roseville that their City Council has approved this amazing opportunity,” said Helen Hicks, of Macomb County Habitat for Humanity. “We haven’t evaluated the homes yet. A construction crew will look over the homes, and they will assess them for major issues. Depending upon the cost for repairs, then we will determine whether we can use the home or not. Even with significant damage, we will work on the properties and repair them and bring them back to code so we can sell them to low-income homebuyers.”

The city of Roseville has coordinated with Macomb County Habitat for Humanity in the past

“It started about 20 or 30 years ago under different administrations for both them and us,” said Roseville’s administrative services specialist, James Gammicchia. “It was a great relationship back then, and it just faded as time went on. I was recently approached by Habitat and started talking with them and toured one of their houses in Eastpointe. They know that all communities do tax reversion homes. I was so impressed with what they did in Eastpointe, so we discussed what we have in stock, and we began talking about a possible agreement.”

The goal is to give the properties to new homeowners to fill vacant lots or homes in the city, eliminate the need for the city to care for the property, and get the homes back on the community’s tax rolls.

“When we purchase from the county on tax forfeitures, they are the city’s properties,” Gammicchia explained. “We have to maintain them, maintain the yard and so forth. This costs the city money, and we’re not getting taxes from anyone because no one is living in them.”

The homes are sold, but Habitat generally selects low-income families who will be able to serve as responsible homeowners but who otherwise couldn’t afford a new home.

“The way that homeowners are selected is that they fit into (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) guidelines,” said Hicks. “They fit into the low-income range but are working. Then we work with a local bank and make sure they can handle a mortgage. Then they purchase a home. Sometimes we have more than one family looking to purchase, but we generally work with whoever is in (the) most need. We sell it below the appraised value because we believe in our mission of getting people in need into homes. We never go too low so it negatively affects home values in the neighborhood. We do assist them with down payments, though.”

The four lots will be chosen out of a pool of a dozen possible homes currently owned by the city. All of the lots range in size from 40-50 feet in the front and 80-100 feet deep on the sides. The other eight properties currently owned by the city will be offered for sale to neighbors or sold to developers.

While some of the properties taken in by Habitat for Humanity are vacant lots or need to be torn down and rebuilt due to damage, most homes can be repaired and renovated, according to Hicks. The timetable is still fluid, but the goal is to get new families inside homes on the properties by the spring.

“We’re really quick. We try to turn it around in three months. We have relationships with several folks and professionals who support our efforts so we can do this very quickly,” remarked Hicks. “With the amount of volunteers and assistance we receive, we generally can bring back most properties. The things that would be an issue would be something like significant foundation problems. In many cases, (in regard to) minor issues, we will just get repaired fairly quickly. We will take homes that are gutted or have roof problems. None of that is frightening to us. ... In the event that we couldn’t take it, we would try to work with them to take a different tax-foreclosed property in its place.”

“Most of the homes are in low-income areas, which are what Habitat is looking for,” Gammicchia added. “Hopefully, in a couple weeks, we’ll get the contract with Habitat squared away, and they have promised a three-month turnaround after that. The hope is getting homeowners in the homes by the spring.”

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